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Jisei, or "death poetry", was a poem with the final thoughts of a samurai, usually composed either on one's deathbed or just before seppuku. It recorded the emotional state of the samurai just before he leaves the mortal world. The norm was to compose a tanka, but haiku were occasionally used for especially deep and emotional confessions. In ancient times, a dying samurai would signify he wished to be avenged by composing a hokku instead of a finished poem; the implication being that his life, like his death poem, was left unfinished. [1]


  1. Book of Fire, p. 120

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