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

***LOOK*** JAPANESE SAMURAI ARMOR YOROI KABUTO HELMET w/ BOX AND STAND
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$2,850.00
End Date: Tuesday Dec-26-2017 15:13:35 PST
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Samurai Armor Black Iron Wearable Kabuto Kote Sode Dou Haidate Menpo Tekko SEE $
Posted on Sunday December 10, 2017

$1,250.00
End Date: Wednesday Dec-20-2017 12:46:19 PST
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JAPANESE ANTIQUE SAMURAI IRON ARMOR YOROI DOU KACHUU EDO ERA FROM JAPAN 4.6kg
Posted on Thursday December 14, 2017

$249.80
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ORIGINAL ANTIQUE JAPANESE SAMURAI YOROI ARMOR - NBTHK CERTIFICATE -
Posted on Wednesday December 13, 2017

$4,999.00 (0 Bids)
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Antique Japanese Samurai Armor with Case
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D985: REAL old SAMURAI iron face guard MENPO of armor YOROI in 1700’s
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$399.99 (1 Bid)
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Samurai Japanese Antique Life Size Armor Helmet Rare Color Red Ver Bushi
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Japan Antique Edo iron yoroi tatami Back Do kabuto koshirae armor katana samurai
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Hand made Samurai Armor
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JAPANESE ANTIQUE SAMURAI IRON ARMOR YOROI DOU KACHUU FROM JAPAN 5.5kg
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The "MENPO" Personal ARMOR, Japanese Traditional ARMOR Used By SAMURAI, Edo Era
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$68.00 (5 Bids)
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Japanese Samurai Armor Helmet -Antique/Old 8-Plate Kabuto -Sword Collection
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The "DOU" Personal ARMOR, Japanese Traditional ARMOR Used By SAMURAI,Karuta type
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$12.50 (2 Bids)
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The "DOU" Personal ARMOR,Japanese Traditional ARMOR Used By SAMURAI, Edo Nimai D
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News About Samurai Armor

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Posted on Friday December 15, 2017

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Gabriel Barbier-Mueller's Passion for Samurai Armor - D Magazine
Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017


D Magazine

Gabriel Barbier-Mueller's Passion for Samurai Armor
D Magazine
It's hard to say whether Barbier-Mueller's eye for quality, which eventually led him to collect samurai armor, came from nature or nurture. As he grabs a couple of Swiss chocolates out of a glass bowl inside his office at Harwood International, Barbier ...

USC Pacific asia Museum celebrates the modern relationship between China and Mexico with 'Winds from Fusang' - Pasadena Weekly
Posted on Thursday December 14, 2017


Pasadena Weekly

USC Pacific asia Museum celebrates the modern relationship between China and Mexico with 'Winds from Fusang'
Pasadena Weekly
On display are some rare ceramics (an early Ming Dynasty cobalt-oxide underglaze charger plate and a newly acquired pair of Song Dynasty-era vases), finely embroidered robes and a dragon-themed samurai armor. At the end of the permanent collection ...

Getting a feel for history wearing period armor on the battlefield - Asahi Shimbun
Posted on Wednesday November 22, 2017


Asahi Shimbun

Getting a feel for history wearing period armor on the battlefield
Asahi Shimbun
An event held each September to commemorate the Battle of Sekigahara offers visitors the chance to take part in a re-enactment of the famous conflict decked out as armor-clad samurai warlords. This year, the annual “Sekigahara Kassen Emaki” event was ...

With exasperation comes satisfaction - BusinessWorld Online Edition
Posted on Thursday December 07, 2017


BusinessWorld Online Edition

With exasperation comes satisfaction
BusinessWorld Online Edition
These range from pirates who look like Wokou raiders, to bandit Ronin in full Samurai armor, to even various forms of youkai such as the Yuki-Onna and the Nurikabe. This might seem like a daunting task, but William is well-equipped for the job and is ...

Batman Ninja Trailer: The Dark Knight Fights Crime in Feudal Japan - Den of Geek US
Posted on Friday December 01, 2017


Den of Geek US

Batman Ninja Trailer: The Dark Knight Fights Crime in Feudal Japan
Den of Geek US
As we can see Gotham City has been traded for a highly-stylized quasi-historical version of feudal Japan, where Batman's crimefighting endeavor sees him take the form of an armored, sword-swinging samurai/ninja hybrid. The solitary, honor-based ...
'Batman Ninja' Anime Debuts Stunning First TrailerComicbook.com
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Guide: Super Mario Odyssey: Bowser's Kingdom Power Moon Locations And Walkthrough - Nintendo Life
Posted on Monday December 11, 2017


Nintendo Life

Guide: Super Mario Odyssey: Bowser's Kingdom Power Moon Locations And Walkthrough
Nintendo Life
Welcome to our ultimate guide for collecting every Power Moon from Bowser's Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey! Below, you'll find maps detailing the exact location for all 62 of the Power Moons located in this Kingdom, as well as descriptions on how to ...

Build Samurai Armor! Become an ancient warrior the indie way