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

Japan Antique Edo gold iron yoroi kozane Do kabuto koshirae armor katana samurai
Posted on Saturday October 21, 2017

$16.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Saturday Oct-28-2017 18:00:48 PDT
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Nikka Whiskey G & G Japan Samurai Bottle Helmet Armor
Posted on Sunday October 15, 2017

$25.00
End Date: Tuesday Nov-14-2017 16:01:42 PST
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D4819 ctTm Japanese Edo Bakumatsu Samurai Yoroi Armor Sleeve Kote Haidate katana
Posted on Thursday October 19, 2017

$102.50 (15 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Oct-24-2017 18:01:01 PDT
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Japanese Iron & Silk wearable Black Horn helmet Rüstung Samurai Armor suit
Posted on Friday April 29, 2016

$1,190.00
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Samurai Helmet Kabuto Keychain - Feudal Japanese Warrior Helmet
Posted on Friday June 09, 2017

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Japan Antique kamishimo haori hakama Edo yoroi Kabuto jinbaori koshirae samurai
Posted on Friday October 20, 2017

$75.33 (11 Bids)
End Date: Friday Oct-27-2017 18:12:03 PDT
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Original Japanese Samurai Jingasa Helmet
Posted on Saturday October 01, 2016

$500.00
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Japan Antique kamishimo haori Edo yoroi Kabuto jinbaori koshirae samurai katana
Posted on Tuesday October 17, 2017

$54.00 (17 Bids)
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Japan Antique big maetate shishi Kabuto yoroi tsuba koshirae Armor samurai parts
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$41.00 (9 Bids)
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Vintage SAMURAI Kabuto GENJI Armor Helmet Staghorn
Posted on Monday October 23, 2017

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Traditional Japanese Samurai Warrior Men's Full Armor Costume
Posted on Tuesday October 04, 2016

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VINTAGE JAPANESE SAMURAI HELMET
Posted on Tuesday October 17, 2017

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SILVER LEAF EDO JAPANESE SAMURAI KABUTO HELMET armor menpo maedate katana kote
Posted on Sunday October 22, 2017

$499.00 (1 Bid)
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The "DOU" Personal ARMOR,Japanese Traditional ARMOR Used By SAMURAI,Real Edo BK
Posted on Saturday October 21, 2017

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samuri weapons

News About Samurai Armor

450-Year-Old Book Reveals What to Name a Baby Samurai - Live Science
Posted on Monday October 23, 2017


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450-Year-Old Book Reveals What to Name a Baby Samurai
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A newly translated 450-year-old book supposedly written by a renowned samurai provides rules of war for Japanese warriors.

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The Heartache Of Iron Banner And Destiny 2's Coolest Armor - Forbes
Posted on Monday October 16, 2017


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The Heartache Of Iron Banner And Destiny 2's Coolest Armor
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I'm just a few points shy of max Power Level, and so I came to the Iron Banner for one reason and one reason only: to grab the Samurai-style armor that ranks among some of the coolest I've ever seen in the game. A week later, I've got four chest pieces ...
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War Machine Gets a Crazy Samurai Makeover, And More of the Best Toys of the Week - Gizmodo
Posted on Friday September 29, 2017


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War Machine Gets a Crazy Samurai Makeover, And More of the Best Toys of the Week
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For the past few years, Bandai has released “movie realization” Star Wars figures that turn Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Stormtroopers into Feudal Japanese warriors, swapping high tech for ornate samurai armor, and laser swords for laser katanas. Now ...

Foreign tourists pick the top 10 must-visit museums in Japan - Japan Today
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Foreign tourists pick the top 10 must-visit museums in Japan
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Japan is packed full of wonderful places for both foreign and local tourists alike. Taking in beautiful scenery or soaking in an onsen can be a great way to spend a holiday in Japan, but museums offer deeper and often enlightening cultural insights not ...

Destiny 2 Iron Banner COUNTDOWN update: armour, gear, weapons and start time - Express.co.uk
Posted on Tuesday October 10, 2017


Express.co.uk

Destiny 2 Iron Banner COUNTDOWN update: armour, gear, weapons and start time
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However, until this week the exact date for the return of the week-long PvP event was unknown. In the Bungie blog post, they also revealed pictures of the armour set Guardians will be able to get their hands on. And as expected, it will have a distinct ...
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Westworld Season 2: Women Will Rule in Samurai World ... - IndieWire - IndieWire
Posted on Wednesday October 04, 2017


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George Lucas owes the look and feel of Star Wars to one key collaborator - AV Club
Posted on Sunday October 22, 2017


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George Lucas owes the look and feel of Star Wars to one key collaborator
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It was McQuarrie who came up with Vader's breathing apparatus and samurai-inspired helmet, and his concept drawings are nearly identical to the finished costume. The same goes for the Stormtrooper helmets he designed. C-3PO and Chewbacca went ...

Build Samurai Armor! Become an ancient warrior the indie way