Tsujigiri (辻斬り or 辻斬, literally "crossroads killing") is a Japanese term for a practice when a samurai, after receiving a new katana or developing a new fighting style or weapon, tests its effectiveness by attacking a human opponent, usually a random defenseless passer-by, in many cases during nighttime. The practitioners themselves are also referred to as tsujigiri.
Sword attacks weren't the only possible application of this act. In a variation named tsuji-nage (辻投げ, "crossroads throwing"), the samurai would attack the passerby with jujutsu in order to test his own techniques or indulge in alive practice. This must not be mistaken with tsuji-zumo, unsanctioned sumo bouts hosted in the street between willing participants.
In the medieval era, the term referred to traditional duels between samurai, but in the Sengoku period (1467–1600), widespread lawlessness caused it to degrade into indiscriminate murder, permitted by the unchecked power of the samurai. Shortly after order was restored, the Edo government prohibited the practice in 1602. Offenders would receive capital punishment. The only known incident where a very large number of people were indiscriminately killed in the Edo period was the 1696 Yoshiwara spree killing (吉原百人斬り), where a wealthy lord had a psychotic fit and murdered dozens of prostitutes with a katana. He was treated by authorities as a spree killer and sentenced to death. Later, a kabuki play was made about the incident.
- つじぎり 【辻斬り】 国語辞書 - エキサイト辞書. Excite.co.jp. Retrieved 22009-31-12.
- Rajender Singh, Fundamentals of Judo
- Mitamura, Engyo. Edo banashi shūsei. Vol. 1. 1956.
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