This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Japanese armour" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. (March 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Ō-yoroi, Kamakura period, 13th-14th century, National Treasure, Kasuga Grand Shrine.
A man wearing Samurai armor and jinbaori (sleeveless jacket) spins around, 2019

Scholars agree that Japanese armour first appeared in the 4th century, with the discovery of the cuirass and basic helmets in graves. It is thought they originated from China via Korea.[1] During the Heian period (794-1185), the unique Japanese samurai armour ō-yoroi and dō-maru appeared.[2] The Japanese cuirass evolved into the more familiar style of body armour worn by the samurai known as the dou or dō, with the use of leather straps (nerigawa), and lacquer for weatherproofing. Leather and/or iron scales were also used to construct samurai armours, with leather and eventually silk lace used to connect the individual scales (kozane) of these cuirasses. In the 16th century, Japan began trading with Europe, during what would become known as the Nanban trade. This was the first time matchlock muskets were imported, and as they became mass-produced domestically, samurai needed lighter and more protective armour. As a result, a new style of armour called tosei-gusoku (gusoku), which means modern armour, appeared.[3] When a united Japan entered the peaceful Edo period, samurai continued to use both plate and lamellar armour as a symbol of their status.

Ōyamazumi Shrine is known as a treasure house of Japanese armour. It houses 40% of Japanese armour that has been designated as a National treasure and an Important Cultural Property.[4][5] Kasuga Grand Shrine is also known as a treasure house of valuable armour.[6]

History

Dō-maru, Muromachi period, 15th century, Important Cultural Property, Tokyo National Museum
Gusoku Armour from the Kii Tokugawa Family. Edo period, 17th century. Minneapolis Institute of Art. In 2009, it sold for $602,500, the highest bid in Christie's history for a Japanese armour.[7]
Gusoku Armour from the Kii Tokugawa Family. Edo period, 17th century. Minneapolis Institute of Art. In 2009, it sold for $602,500, the highest bid in Christie's history for a Japanese armour.[7]
Gusoku Armour with a medieval revival style. Cloud dragon is drawn using maki-e technique. Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo Fuji Art Museum
Gusoku Armour with a medieval revival style. Cloud dragon is drawn using maki-e technique. Edo period, 19th century, Tokyo Fuji Art Museum

Earliest Japanese armour is thought to have evolved from the armour used in ancient China.[1] Cuirasses and helmets were manufactured in Japan as early as the 4th century CE.[1] Tankō, worn by foot soldiers and keikō, worn by horsemen were both pre-samurai types of early Japanese cuirass constructed from iron plates connected together by leather thongs.[citation needed]

During the Heian period (794-1185), the unique Japanese samurai armour ō-yoroi and dō-maru appeared. Luxurious and heavily armed ō-yoroi were worn by senior mounted samurai, while the lighter dō-maru were worn by lower-class infantry samurai.[2] The Japanese cuirass evolved into the more familiar style of armour worn by the samurai known as the dou or dō. Japanese armour makers started to use leather (nerigawa), and lacquer was used to weatherproof the armour parts. Leather and or iron scales were used to construct samurai armour, with leather and eventually silk lace used to connect the individual scales (kozane) from which these cuirasses were now being made.[8] The artistic decoration of ō-yoroi reached its peak around the time of the Genpei War at the end of the Heian period. At the end of the 14th century, towards the end of the Kamakura period, even senior samurai often used lightweight dō-maru.[2]

In the 16th century, Japan began trading with Europe during what would become known as the Nanban trade. Matchlock muskets were first introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in 1543. The matchlock muskets were named "Tanegashima" after the first island they arrived on.[9] Soon after, when Japanese swordsmiths began to mass-produce matchlock muskets in Japan, the war in Japan changed completely. The samurai needed armour that was lighter and more protective. In addition, large-scale battles required armor that could be mass-produced. As a result, a new style of armour called tosei-gusoku (gusoku), which means modern armour, appeared. Gusoku evolved from the dō-maru lineage.[3] Kozane has changed to itazane, which is made of relatively large iron plate or platy leather, and has improved its defenses. Itazane can also be said to replace a row of individual kozanes with a single steel plate or platy of leather. Since the armour is no longer flexible, gusoku has changed its method to make it easier to put on and take off by opening and closing the armour with a hinge. The simplified structure of the armour makes it easier to manufacture, allowing armor makers to focus on design and increasing the variety of armour looks. For example, the iron plate was designed to imitate the chest of an old man, and dō-maru style gusoku was made by attaching colored threads to the surface of the iron plate.[3][10] The type of gusoku, like the plate armour, in which the front and back dou are made from a single iron plate with a raised center and a V-shaped bottom, was called Nanban dou gusoku (Western type gusoku).[3] Bullet resistant armours were developed called tameshi gusoku ("bullet tested"),[11] allowing samurai to continue wearing their armour despite the use of firearms.[citation needed]

Samurai in this period, especially high ranking samurai such as daimyo, owned a lot of armor. For example, it has been confirmed that Tokugawa Ieyasu owned dozens of armor, and they are now owned by Kunōzan Tōshō-gū, Nikkō Tōshō-gū, Kishū Tōshō-gū, Tokugawa Art Museum, The Tokugawa Museum, Tokyo National Museum, etc.[12][13][14]

The era of warfare called the Sengoku period ended around 1600, when a united Japan entered the peaceful Edo period. Although samurai continued to use both plate and lamellar armour as a symbol of their status, traditional armours were no longer necessary for battles. For this reason, in the Edo period, armour in the style of the revival of the medieval period, incorporating gorgeous ō-yoroi and dō-maru designs, became popular.[15] During the Edo period lightweight, portable, and secret hidden armours became popular, since personal protection was still needed. Civil strife, duels, assassinations, and peasant revolts all required the use of armours such as the kusari katabira (chain armour jacket) and armoured sleeves, as well as other types of armour which could be worn under ordinary clothing.[16] Edo period samurai were in charge of internal security and would wear various types of kusari gusoku (chain armour) and shin and arm protection as well as forehead protectors (hachi-gane).[17]

Armour continued to be worn and used in Japan until the end of the samurai era (Meiji period) in the 1860s, with the last use of samurai armour happening in 1877 during the Satsuma Rebellion.[18]

Construction

Construction of samurai armour, Source Wendelin Boeheim Leipzig 1890: 1. Cuirass - dō (胴(仏胴)) 2. Fauld - kusazuri (草摺) 3. Cuisse - haidate (佩楯) 4. Poleyn - tateage (立挙) 5. Greaves - suneate (臑当(篠臑当)) 6. Sabaton - kōgake (甲懸) 7. Spaulders - sode (袖(当世袖)) 8. Vambrace - kote (籠手(篠籠手)) 9. Gauntlets - tekkō (手甲(摘手甲)) 10. Helm - kabuto (兜(日根野形頭形兜)) 11. Badge (helmet) - kasa-jirushi (笠印) 12. Forehead plate - mabisashi (眉庇) 13. Lame - fukikaeshi (吹返) 14. Neck guard - shikoro (しころ(日根野しころ)) 15. Crest (here: water buffalo horns) - wakidate (立物(水牛の脇立)) 16. Crest (here: sun disk) - maedate (立物(日輪の前立)) 17. Faceplate - menpō or mempō (面頬(目の下頬)) 18. Badge (shoulder) - sode-jirushi (垂) 19. Bevor - yodare-kake (襟廻)
Construction of samurai armour, Source Wendelin Boeheim Leipzig 1890:
1. Cuirass - dō (胴(仏胴))
2. Fauld - kusazuri (草摺)
3. Cuisse - haidate (佩楯)
4. Poleyn - tateage (立挙)
5. Greaves - suneate (臑当(篠臑当))
6. Sabaton - kōgake (甲懸)
7. Spaulders - sode (袖(当世袖))
8. Vambrace - kote (籠手(篠籠手))
9. Gauntlets - tekkō (手甲(摘手甲))
10. Helm - kabuto (兜(日根野形頭形兜))
11. Badge (helmet) - kasa-jirushi (笠印)
12. Forehead plate - mabisashi (眉庇)
13. Lame - fukikaeshi (吹返)
14. Neck guard - shikoro (しころ(日根野しころ))
15. Crest (here: water buffalo horns) - wakidate (立物(水牛の脇立))
16. Crest (here: sun disk) - maedate (立物(日輪の前立))
17. Faceplate - menpō or mempō (面頬(目の下頬))
18. Badge (shoulder) - sode-jirushi (垂)
19. Bevor - yodare-kake (襟廻)

Japanese armour was generally constructed from many small iron (tetsu) and/or leather (nerigawa) scales (kozane) and/or plates (ita-mono), connected to each other by rivets and macramé cords (odoshi) made from leather and/or braided silk, and/or chain armour (kusari). Noble families had silk cords made in specific patterns and colors of silk thread. Many of these cords were constructed of well over 100 strands of silk. Making these special silk cords could take many months of steady work, just to complete enough for one suit of armour. These armour plates were usually attached to a cloth or leather backing. Japanese armour was designed to be as lightweight as possible as the samurai had many tasks including riding a horse and archery in addition to swordsmanship. The armour was usually brightly lacquered to protect against the harsh Japanese climate. Chain armour (kusari) was also used to construct individual armour pieces and full suits of kusari were even used.[19]

Individual armour parts

The itazane-structured dou (cuirass), the quirky designs of kabuto (helmet) and mengu (face guard), are typical features of the gusoku armour. Azuchi–Momoyama period, 16th-17th century, Suntory Museum of Art
The itazane-structured dou (cuirass), the quirky designs of kabuto (helmet) and mengu (face guard), are typical features of the gusoku armour. Azuchi–Momoyama period, 16th-17th century, Suntory Museum of Art

A full suit of traditional Samurai armour could include the following items:

Auxiliary armours

Clothing worn with Japanese armour

This is a replica of jinbaori with a Mount Fuji design that was worn by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century.  early–mid-19th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art
This is a replica of jinbaori with a Mount Fuji design that was worn by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century. early–mid-19th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Auxiliary items worn with Japanese armour

Types

Pre-samurai armour

Kozane-gusoku

Kozane dou (dō) gusoku, are samurai armours with a lamellar cuirass constructed from individual scales (kozane), old fashioned armours used before the introduction of firearms in Japanese warfare (pre-Sengoku styles).[20][21]

Tosei-gusoku

Tosei dou (dō) gusoku the so-called "modern armours" made from iron plates (ita-mono)[22] instead of individual scales (kozane). Tosei-gusoku became prominent starting in the 1500s due to the advent of fire arms, new fighting tactics and the need for additional protection.[10][23]

Other types

Individual samurai armor parts

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Farris, William Wayne (1998). Sacred Texts and Buried Treasures: Issues in the Historical Archaeology of Ancient Japan. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press. p. 75. ISBN 0824820304. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c 式正の鎧・大鎧 Costume Museum
  3. ^ a b c d 日本の甲冑 Costume Museum
  4. ^ Yorio Fujimoto, "神社と神様がよーくわかる本" p.65. Shuwa System Co., Ltd. ISBN 978-4798040721
  5. ^ "Oyamazumi-jinja Shrine – Japan's Most Extensive Samurai Treasury". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  6. ^ Kasuga-taisha Museum
  7. ^ 米競売、江戸時代の甲冑5千万円/過去最高額で落札. The Shikoku Shimbun. October 24, 2009
  8. ^ Robinson, H. Russell (2013). Oriental Armour. Courier Corporation. p. 173. ISBN 9780486174921. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  9. ^ Lidin, Olof G. (2003). Tanegashima - The Arrival of Europe in Japan. Routledge. ISBN 9781135788711. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  10. ^ a b Sinclaire, Clive (2004). Samurai: The Weapons and Spirit of the Japanese Warrior (1st Lyons Press ed.). Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot Press. p. 32. ISBN 1592287204. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  11. ^ Absolon, Trevor; Thatcher, David (2011). Samurai Armour: The Watanabe Art Museum, Samurai Armour Collection. Victoria, B.C.: Toraba Samurai Art. p. 78. ISBN 9780986761508. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  12. ^ 久能山東照宮 主な収蔵品
  13. ^ 大徳川展 作品リスト 東京国立博物館
  14. ^ 色々糸威二枚胴具足
  15. ^ 甲冑に見る江戸時代展5 武士と武人の甲冑像 Fukuoka City Museum
  16. ^ Ratti, Oscar; Westbrook, Adele (1991). Secrets of the Samurai; A Survey of the Martial Arts of Feudal Japan (1st pbk. ed.). Rutland, Vt.: C.E. Tuttle Co. p. 196. ISBN 0804816840. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  17. ^ Cunningham, Don; Hashimoto, Rich (2004). Taiho-Jutsu: Law and Order in the Age of the Samurai (1st ed.). Boston: Tuttle Pub. p. 45. ISBN 0804835365. Retrieved 2016-03-13. samurai chain-mail undergarments.
  18. ^ Sinclaire, Clive (2004). Samurai: The Weapons and Spirit of the Japanese Warrior (1st Lyons Press ed.). Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot Press. p. 49. ISBN 1592287204. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  19. ^ George Cameron Stone (2 July 1999). A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor: In All Countries and in All Times. Courier Dover Publications. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-486-40726-5. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  20. ^ Yamagami, Hachirō (1940). Japan's Ancient Armour. Japan: Board of Tourist Industry, Japanese Government Railways. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  21. ^ Bryant, Anthony J.; McBride, Angus (1991). Early Samurai: 200-1500 AD. London: Osprey. p. 47. ISBN 1855321319. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  22. ^ Robinson, H. Russell (2002). Oriental Armor. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. p. 190. ISBN 0486418189. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  23. ^ Deal, William E. (2005). Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan. New York NY: Facts On File. p. 171. ISBN 0816056226. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  24. ^ a b Stone, George Cameron; LaRocca, Donald J. (1999). A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor: in All Countries and in All Times. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. p. 70. ISBN 0486407268. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  25. ^ Ian Bottomley & A.P. Hopson "Arms and Armor of the Samurai: The History of Weaponry in Ancient Japan" pp.88, 91