samurai weapons
Samurai Weapons, Samurai Armor and the Samurai way of life

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Samurai Armors

Samurai armors are probably the most overlooked part of the samurai legend. When someone talks about the samurai, they find the samurai swords more exciting and awe-inspiring than anything else. And whoever imagines the Samurai dressed in anything, but traditional clothing made of black or colourful cloth.

Yet, samurai armors are quite easily as interesting and exotic as the samurai swords and just as neccessary. For they are not just exotic, but a very important part of the Samurai's repertoire in the battlefield.

Much like the swords, the samurai armors, too, started out simple and almost crude in form. But gradually the armor, worn by the warriors, evolved over time with changing needs and with the coming of newer methods of technologies. Heavy armors got lighter and the crude designs received artistic facelifts that protected better.

The first real venture of the Japanese in making armor for the samurai resulted in heavy "clothing" made of solid metal plates. While the armor did offer protection from arrows, the drawbacks were plenty. Owing to their heaviness and inflexibility, the warrior's maneuvering ability was drastically reduced, something that was very essential in the battlefield. History notes that it was around the time of 1181-1185, during the Gempei War, that the first Japanese lamellar armor was made in Japan. Known as the yoroi, it weighed around 60lb and was to be worn by the mounted samurai. It consisted of heavy helmets and huge shoulder guards.

A typical yoroi would consist of the following parts:

  • Do - This was the name given to the part of the armor that protected the whole upper-body.
  • Sode - These were the suspended metal plates that protected the upper-arm and the shoulder. There were rings attached to the sode, through which passed silk cords which were tied together at the back of the armor in a decorative plait known as an agemaki. The cords were also protected using leather or metal guards so that they wouldn't snap during battle.
  • Kabuto - This was the helmet, formed by a number of plates all held together by cone-shaped bolts. Often, the helmet was made in a decorative and artistic fashion and the different colors and type of helmet would be indicative of the rank of the samurai or the group he belonged to. The helmet has a tehen, a small hole right at its crown, through which protrudes out the samurai's long hair.
  • Shikoro - This was an essential part of the samurai armor. Protecting vulnerable parts of the body such as the back of the head, the neck and the cheekbone, this was made of thick plates attached to the bowl of the helmet. Also, the top four plates of the Shikoro, could be inverted to form the fukigaeshi. This fukigaeshi could protect the the shikoros cords from getting sliced vertically.
  • Mabisashi - The visor of the helmet, this was designed to have a cone like protrusion that would shield the samurai against downward strikes of the enemy.

As mentioned earlier in the article, the yoroi was only used by the horse-mounted samurai. Foot soldiers required much more flexibility and hence wore a much lighter variety of armor known as the Do Maru. This armor was designed so that it closely fitted the body of the foot soldier and provided far more maneuverability. Later on, the mounted samurai too adopted the Do Maru type of armors in place of the yoroi.

Though designed for protection during war, skilled craftsman made the armors a subject to showcase their artistic skills during peaceful periods of no war. The helmets, especially, became more and more elaborate and are considered excellent examples of artwork. Even to this day, interested collectors and appreciators of art, are enthusiastic about purchasing antique samurai armor suits.

About the Author:  Scott Harker is the publisher of several websites including: Pin-up Art, Sherlock Holmes Pastiches, and Gynecomastia.


Samurai Armor Related Items For Sale

VINTAGE JAPANESE SAMURAI HELMET Masasige Dragon and Tiger Kabuto
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Samurai Helmet Replica Japanese Armor Sword Karate Collectible MINI Size
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antique Japanese samurai armordate:17th century(EDO period or earlier)
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Vintage BRASS & IRON Signed Japanese Samurai Helmet Kabuto JAPANESE EXPORT
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Tenugui Cloth Japanese Fabric Cotton 'Samurai Armor by Moonlight' Motif
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Japanese Boys Day Samurai Doll Warrior Armor Kabuto Helmet Box From Honda Japan
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Authentic Samurai Figure/Figurine: Armor Series-Oda Nobunaga
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Great Medieval 6 foot Armor Display Stand: Roman/ Samurai/ Knights -From USA!
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Japanese Samurai Wearable Kabuto Helmet -Marutake Kohnin Product- 光忍
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samuri weapons

News About Samurai Armor

This $3000 G-Shock Is Inspired by Samurai Armor - Bloomberg
Posted on Monday May 15, 2017


Bloomberg

This $3000 G-Shock Is Inspired by Samurai Armor
Bloomberg
At Baselworld 2017, Casio debuted the latest entry, the MRG-G1000B-1A4 Akazonae, which incorporates red accents meant to reflect the shade of red used in traditional Japanese samurai armor—in particular, the armor worn by senior samurai of the Takeda ...

Japan's samurai armor bag collection expands with new designs, colors【Photos】 - SoraNews24
Posted on Monday April 24, 2017


SoraNews24

Japan's samurai armor bag collection expands with new designs, colors【Photos】
SoraNews24
Last fall, Japanese fashion label Gyoku caught our eye with its collection of samurai armor-style satchels and pouches. Apparently we weren't the only ones intrigued by the crossover of bushido and bags, as the line has since been expanded to include ...

Japanese armor, art amaze at Chazen Museum exhibit - Wisconsin Gazette
Posted on Friday May 05, 2017


Wisconsin Gazette

Japanese armor, art amaze at Chazen Museum exhibit
Wisconsin Gazette
The exhibit showcases the craftsmanship and esthetic aspects of samurai armor, helmets, swords, guards and arrows, and also features screens, lacquer boxes and other objects from the period that reflect the same workmanship, says Chazen director ...

Behind the Scenes at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery - WYSO
Posted on Friday May 19, 2017


WYSO

Behind the Scenes at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
WYSO
Bill shows me a set of samurai armor, "That was donated to us in 1946. So we have the sleeve which is probably one of my favorite parts of the armor just because it's so intricate. And it has the chain-mail on it with the gold colored hand as well as ...

Live by the sword: Samurai group fights demons at Japanese ... - Brooklyn Paper
Posted on Wednesday April 26, 2017


Brooklyn Paper

Live by the sword: Samurai group fights demons at Japanese ...
Brooklyn Paper
Dance with swords: Members of Samurai Sword Soul will be performing their sword dance at the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival on April 28 and 29.

and more »

4 Phoenix deals for International Museum Day (mostly free) - AZCentral.com
Posted on Saturday May 13, 2017


AZCentral.com

4 Phoenix deals for International Museum Day (mostly free)
AZCentral.com
Look, we get it. You think about getting out to a museum far more often than you actually do. Mind-enriching art and cultural exhibits are great, but the gravitational field of Netflix is strong. And that's why there's International Museum Day, every ...

Louis Vuitton - Vogue.com
Posted on Sunday May 14, 2017


Vogue.com

Louis Vuitton
Vogue.com
Samurai armor, Kurosawa's colors, Kabuki makeup, traditional prints of fishermen, and the obscure 1970s Japanese film series Stray Cat Rock informed his process. They produced a collection dense with prints, layers, and textures, as well as a ...

Build Samurai Armor! Become an ancient warrior the indie way