The Samurai armor is a Japanese armor which was built to protect the samurais during the Heian period in Japan. This armor is invented in order to optimize the mobility of the warriors who wore it, it is thus made in several parts (torso, helmet, forearms…)
The Yoroi armor is the most popular one which can be easily recognized by its shape and its different materials such as metal, leather, silk as well as many different alloys depending on the quality and the price of the armor, it is possible to find gold on some armors.
The samurai armor is therefore mainly made of small metal or leather plates which are linked together, forming a multi-piece armor both solid and mobile.
This Yoroi armor, even if very mobile, weighs between 44lbs and 66lbs and is thus very cumbersome for the samurais who fought on foot, some of them then equipped themselves with lighter armors as with the do-maru or haramaki armors. This type of armor weighs from 22 to 44 lbs, but covers a less important surface of the body and is made of less solid steel.
On these armors, a Katana could be attached to the belt or to the petticoat, allowing the sword to be kept close by.
Composition of the Samurai armor :
- Helmet (Kabuto): Bomb-shaped, made of several metal plates and slats to offer the neck and the rest of the skull. It was often presented with ornaments and the clan logo.
- Mask (Menpo): These are masks, frequently representing demons from Japanese folklore (like the Hannya) to protect the face and scare the opponent.
- Throat protector (Yodarekake): Linked plates to protect the neck
- Shoulder pads (Sode): Plates bound with leather cords for the purpose of providing protection and flexibility.
- Plastron (Do) : Main element of the armor. Plastron made with metal and lacquered leather in order to protect from both blows and bad weather. Sometimes lace and silk details and ornaments were used.
- Forearm protectors (Kote): Often made from hemp, linen, brocade or silk with iron plates and chain mail. This allows for great mobility as well as very good protection.
- Gloves (Tekko): Metal and leather plates bonded to provide the best protection for the gloves while allowing mobility. The metal plates are then placed in strategic places that do not disturb.
- Skirt (Kusazuri) : Skirt made up of several sides to facilitate the movements and to reinforce the hips.
- Shorts (Haedate): Almost invisible shorts under the Skirt, allowing a double protection.
- Suneate : Protection that often extends from the shorts to the feet. The main purpose is to protect the shins and knees with iron plates.