Jayan of Brain Drain draws my attention to an interesting piece about Japanese literary suicides:
In Japan, longstanding tradition has perpetuated several honorable categories of seppuku, or ritual suicide; a fact reflected by the Japanese language, which contains many terms for specific forms of shi, or death. Shinju is the word for suicide which fulfills a pact between lovers. Roshi refers to death from old age, while gokuraku-ojo is the death (of a woman) through prolonged sexual intercourse. Senshi is what death in war is called; junshi designates the suicide of a warrior who follows his lord to the grave. Perhaps the best-known exemplars of this code of martial martyrdom were the Samurai, adepts of the art of Bushido, who were emulated in spirit by the members of the ikosyu, the Japanese suicide squadrons of World War II: the kamikaze, kaiten, and aoka pilots who rammed airplanes, midget torpedo-submarines, and manned missiles into enemy craft.
Japanese culture is probably the only one in which, besides leaving a last will and testament, a concomitant tradition of writing a jisei—a death poem, or “farewell to life”—has arisen, and in which the suicide note is cultivated as a literary form.
Take a look!