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Japanese Little League Team Commits Hari-Kari After Losing Championship
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa - The jubilation of the 31,400 who saw Dalton Carriker slug a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to snag the Little League World Championship for Warner Robins, Georgia at Howard J. Lamade Stadium Sunday quickly turned to unmitigated horror when the American team's Japanese adversaries began committing hari-kari in their dugout.
Hari-kari, a western term referring to the act of Seppuku, is a form of ritual suicide in which a disgraced warrior plunges a dagger into his lower abdomen, then cuts upwards to his sternum before making a horizontal cut across his rib cage in order to attenuate shame and restore honor.
After fulfilling their ceremonial duty of offering congratulations to their victors, the Japanese youngsters made their way back to the visitors dugout, where team manager coach Youichi Kubo solemnly began distributing knives wrapped in white cloth to each of the thirteen boys.
"At first I thought, 'Oh, isn't that nice, the coach is giving them presents as a token of gratitude for their gutsy performance and hard work," recounted a local woman who came out to see the game, "But then they started stabbing themselves in the stomach and screaming. It was awful."
According to witnesses, the horror of the scene intensified when one of the Japanese players, later identified as center fielder Hiroki Takewaki, fled the dugout in an attempt to save himself only to be shot in the back with a rifle by Kubo.
"This kid just bolted out of the dugout and was hauling ass across the outfield when I heard a pop and he stumbled and fell," described Coby Hunter, an older brother of one of the Warner Robins players, "He tried to get back up a bunch of times, and managed to make it a few more feet on his knees, but the manager just kept shooting him until he finally stopped, threw his head back and his arms in the air, let out a loud cry and slumped over dead."
Added Hunter: "Kind of like Willem Dafoe in Platoon."
The shooting death of Takewaki led to further turmoil in the stands as his disgraced mother, maddened by shame, ran shrieking up the stairs of the stadium and jumped to her death from the top of the right field bleachers.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," remarked a man who was seated near Takewaki, "I turned to my wife and said, 'These people are totally nuts!'."
Meanwhile, Little League Chairman Tim Hughes defended the lack of intervention by anyone on the field during the more than five minutes of carnage.
"I'll be honest, I thought it seemed like an awfully exaggerated reaction to the loss of a simple baseball game, but that's part of their culture, and giving our kids a chance to learn about the diverse cultures of people from other countries around the world is an important aspect of this tournament," Hughes said.
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