Author Topic: Japanese War Gear - (pics)  (Read 46636 times)

War_B*stard

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Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« on: November 22, 2008, 12:07:27 pm »
Here are some pictures I took from my visit to Leeds Royal Armouries. If you're ever in the area I'd recommend you pay a visit. It's a museum but they do daily talks and displays of various weaponry).
Most of their stuff (and there's lots of it) is European, but they do have an oriental section. The majority of their Japanese collection is 18th + 19th century, but they do have some older pieces. I doubt they will be of any help to the mod, but I figured you might like them all the same.




This is a 17th C halberd/spear head, apparently designed to allow the use to hook escaping prisoners or some such. Whatever the case it's an unusual looking object.

Strange looking helmet from the 16th C, didn't strike me as looking particularly Japanese (more like something from Lord of the Rings)


This last one is a Japanese shield, apparently made for export to Europe (did the Japanese make use of shields like this themselves?):

Hope you enjoyed!
PS With the exception of the arrows + quiver (19th C) all the items here are 15th-17th C.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2008, 12:09:23 pm by War_B*stard »

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2008, 06:56:56 pm »
That odd-looking device is roughly translated "sleeve entangler".  It was the stun gun of its day - used for taking prisoners by hanging it in their clothing and dragging them down to where you could beat them up.  Apparently they were quite common - thousands of them have survived.  We thought about adding them to OnR, but since we couldn't really get the proper special effects to go with it, it seemed pointless.

The shield ... Japan understood the concept of the shield.  The Koreans used them.  Okinawa even used small shields (mostly wicker or turtle-shell).  The Japanese just figured that a better grip on your weapon was worth more (and they weren't the only ones - George Silver said the same thing in England 1599).  China also used this model - arming infantry with two-handed polearms or crossbows, and mostly dropping the personal shield (although larger pavise remained in the strategy for both China and Japan).  So it's possible somebody in Japan built a shield for themselves, even if it was uncommon.  Not to say that one wasn't for export - that's also a possibility.

Nice crossbow.  Looks a LOT like the new ones that will be appearing in the next OnR release.  (They're ready.  Just waiting to be distributed.)  And I guess you already saw the new quivers, that look a lot like that one pictured.

The fantasy-looking helmets ... well, most fantasy stories base their helmets off of Japan.  That's because the Japanese helmets were nothing short of utterly preposterous.  There is no way to over-emphasize that point, nor to use imagination to come up with some ridiculous look that the Japanese did not try.  Speaking of which, I keep thinking I'm going to add some more helmets to OnR, but I keep not getting the energy to do it.  A couple along the lines of the one in that picture were on the list.

Side note - photography tip:  You're getting really bad reflections off of the glass.  If you're using flash, you really need to set up a tripod and stop using said flash.  Also, you might want to invest in a circular polarizer filter, if you do a lot of photography of things under glass.  If those options don't appeal to you, sometimes you can reduce the glare just by moving around a little, especially by getting closer.  Most museums in China will back-light their display cases and keep the room relatively dark, to stop that ... they got tired of tourists whining about the glass.  I guess Leeds Armory hasn't heard about that trick yet.  Anyway, just a tip, to help make your pictures look a little more professional.

War_B*stard

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2008, 07:58:27 pm »
Apologies for the low quality of the pictures and thanks for the tips. I was using my camera phone (no flash), the cases were not lit at all but the hall itself was (poorly, I had to turn the brightness on the phone all the way up). I assume the reason they don't use lights inside the cases is to stop the objects' colour from fading. (I'm basically making excuses, I know nothing of photography!)

Anyhow, here's a picture I forgot to include, again apologies for the shocking quality but you get the idea:

It's a helmet from the 17thC, I was astounded at how well made it is (restored maybe?) The hooks on the forehead puzzle me though. Any ideas as to what they are for, and whilst were at it what's with the rope?
Sorry for the bombardment of questions, it's just that going there really piqued my interest.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2008, 09:08:07 pm »
The rope is the chin strap.  Overstated so it could be tied into a big, gaudy bow knot or something, as only the Japanese could do.  They always seemed to make their chin straps out of half-inch rope or larger.

The hooks are to hold the front crest.  From the size of them and their position, I'm guessing that the helmet had horns originally.  (Deer, cow, who knows?)  Probably big ones.  Although it could have been some other preposterous front crest - flower arrangement or a stuffed duck or something.  Whatever it was, the hooks held the crest.  The helmet is tight-pattern lace, so it was expensive ... so I'm betting the original crest for it was totally outlandish.

You took those on a stupid telephone camera?  That's pretty impressive, it and of itself.  You have to be pretty careful to even get workable pictures off of camera-phones.  Anyway, not trying to nit-pick, just commenting... I do a little photography, as a hobby, but I use decent equipment.

The thing with the lights in the cases is a good trick.  The overall light level is about the same (or sometimes a little lower), they just make it brighter inside the cases and darker in the room, so the contents of glass cases will photograph without reflections.  The negative is that if you drop something or lose track of small children, it can be tough to find anything in a darkened room - so it's not the safest arrangement in history.  But it does make photography a lot easier.

And yeah, seeing these things gets most people interested.  That's what drives historians, in a field that most people find incredibly boring when they read about it on paper ... but when you're actually holding a 400 year old helmet, or standing inside a 1000 year old tomb, just about everybody gets a lot more interested.

Chopa

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2008, 01:30:42 pm »
Quote
[Although it could have been some other preposterous front crest - flower arrangement or a stuffed duck or something./quote]

   ROTFLMAO!  I love it! And look forward immensely to meeting, in combat, Lord Dukdong with the stuffed duck on his head!   :lol:

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2008, 09:15:54 pm »
What, you think I was kidding about stuffed animals on helmets?  That would actually be pretty mild compared to some surviving Japanese helmets of the period.  Some had stuffed heads of much bigger stuff, up to and including deer, or live bonsai trees ... If you thought the headgear in the LOTR movies was absurd, you've never even scratched the surface of the sort of things the Japanese did.

It wasn't just Japan ... for example, the Aztec "eagle warriors" sometimes had entire stuffed eagles on their headgear.  Roman standard-bearers wore wolf or lion skins over their armor, including the head covering their helmets.  But the Japanese hold the record for the largest volume of consistently absurd helmet decorations.  They also hold the record for comical ways you can dress up a horse.  The samurai were truly a different breed.

Chopa

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2008, 01:07:58 am »
  Hmmm, The bonsai tree would certainly give you something to do while waiting for the battle to start. "Ooops! gotta leave early...my bonsai needs watering.."
   Having had a quick look at "Onin No Ran" I'm devastated to tell you that "Hundred Years War" has you beaten on funny hats...... They really have the stuffed duck, plus a few other outlandish heraldic beasts atop their helms. I seem to recall that helmet furniture was only for jousting and showing off, and we had to take it off on campaign.....but it certainly makes good eye-candy.   8)

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2008, 01:47:00 am »
Yeah, well, I didn't say that various mods might not have more funny hats.  OnR has a rather limited selection, really ... we hope to get more variety later.  However, some of the really absurd stuff creates a problem with poly count - many of the helmets are already too high-poly, as one of Fujiwara's stated objectives is to keep this thing as light on processors as possible.  (I keep bending that rule - the new quivers that show as many as 50 arrows are killers on poly count.)  We hate to build anything too outlandish just due to processor overwork.

But it is acknowledged that OnR does not even scratch the surface of all the preposterous headgear and weapon designs of ancient Japan.  Maybe if computers keep doubling in processing power every 18 months, we can get away with that in five years or so.

Chopa

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2009, 07:35:16 pm »
   While I'm sure this is not the right place to post it... have you seen http://forums.taleworlds.net/index.php/topic,55103.0.html ?

   CATMOD II. The screenshots take a long time to load and some are "Strange" to say the least. There are some interesting Chinese fortifications towards the end, Chinese crossbows, and a Chinese arrow quiver, similar to the one in this thread which I understand someone has just spent alot of time and several crates of polygons modelling.
   Ron's grasp of Chinese to the rescue!

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2009, 09:30:34 pm »
Yeah ... that was odd ... like a history lesson on LSD.

My new crossbow and arrow quiver models are not quite as elaborate, but probably closer to the real thing.  The limbs on those crossbows looked much too narrow for the horn and bamboo bow construction of the 1400's.  (I have seen a few real Chinese crossbows ... just a few, really, considering the tens of thousands of them that have been recovered from old tombs and the like.)  Anyway, it was me - who spent three weeks and a million polys on crossbows and quivers.  (Scary thought ... a million polygons worth of new models.)

The quivers were so darn high poly because, instead of the convention of only doing about five arrows, I did them all - even the big one with like 50 arrows.  Even then, over 2000 poly sounds really bad until you realize the faces are like 900 poly.

Although my ability to read Chinese is not that good either ... I never use it, all my students always want to practice English with me.

The new models should be in the next version, if Fujiwara ever re-appears.

Chopa

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2009, 11:55:00 pm »
  If this mod has piqued anyone's interest in Japanese armour, this guy has a pretty good website on it's history, construction and use: http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/

sdog

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2009, 09:21:43 am »
until accurate firearms made sniping possible in WW1, absurdly large funny hats really increased one's survivability on the battlefield. Since the important people could have the really big ones only, it's quite good whey your lads can see you everywhere on the battlefield, to either receive orders or save your ass. In many cultures it made your opponent try not to kill you in order to capture and ransom you.

to ron, do you think very strongly coloured ornaments and stuff could distract the opponent for a split second? When he suddenly sees the wearer in the batle and needs a bit longer to grasp the situation. Since eg the silhuette is broken.

Another example Our vision works in a way to search for the eyes first, find all of them and then from there on start looking. Eyes painted on a shield could lead the opponent to look at the shield first. Since  many helmets obscure the eyes, it could also take one longer to notice an opponent as human, and not as an object.

The effects of this should be in the timescale of less than half a second, could it have mattered in battles?

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2009, 10:26:27 am »
Well, yes and no.  In both world wars, allied aircraft described enemy fighters as firing at the big targets on their planes more than at anything vital.  So there may be something to that.  But an airplane has a 50 foot wingspan and they were closing on each other at 300mph+ ... so the situation was a little different than a man-sized target.

However, in an arrow barrage, there's probably not that much aiming going on in the first place.  I mean, not precisely enough to worry about where the eyes are fixed ... they're mostly shooting for moving silhouette.  At least that's how most modern armies train to shoot with rifles, and it's a safe bet that after 800 years of spending their entire lives studying warfare, the samurai probably had forgotten a lot more about conditioning and combat training than modern people will ever know.

Now, throwing off the silhouette is another issue ... assuming your enemy is shooting for center of body mass, it is possible to give them the bullfight runaround - present a visual target that does not really include your body.  But a tall helmet is a poor plan in that respect, because if they shoot for center of mass, that pulls their aiming point off of your chest armor and onto your face.  Same reason they tell police not to crouch in a gunfight - if the enemy is aiming at chest level, the last thing you want to do is move your head down to chest level.

The real advantage of large headgear is psychological.  If you're 5'10", and the other guy appears to be seven feet tall, it's going to take you a second (especially in confusion and low light) to figure out if he really has 18 inches of reach and 100 pounds on you, or if it's a costume.  Combine that with a bunch of unnecessary noise and irregular light reflections, and it tends to be a bit disconcerting.  That is a distraction that will buy you some time, but generally because the enemy are seriously considering how badly they want to engage your force, not in the fractions of a second between blows in a melee.

There's also the "most dangerous guy on the field" effect.  My brother described it this way:  If when a bunch of troops charge across a clearing, everybody has a rifle, except for one guy who has something big and scary-looking (doesn't matter what - flamethrower, huge battle axe, anything noticeable), the enemy will invariably concentrate all fire on that guy.  Now, this seems counter-productive, until you realize that the guy in the big helmet probably has the best armor, and is probably not standing in a group with the peasant spearmen.  So if some guy in flashy armor rides by on a horse and draws all the enemy fire, the infantry can march in virtually unopposed.  The modern equivalent usually involves using a tank to draw artillery fire off of the infantry, but it's the same basic idea.

But most of those things are not fraction-of-a-second ... they cause general confusion among command and dismay among the enemy over a period of time.  Cumulative damage to morale and to command and control functions, as lower officers misdirect fire and mis-estimate threat levels, eventually weaken their overall ability to fight.


I wouldn't bet on psychological advantage in close quarters.  Once targets get within blade range, most people have developed such a bad case of tunnel vision from adrenalin that they probably can't see much of anything anyway.  So by that point, it's probably wasted ... they're just attacking the idea of a person being there, and wouldn't notice if he was dressed like bozo the clown.  I mean, the number of friendly fire cases at point blank range pretty much prove that people are looking at their targets, not seeing them.

Offline SwissHalberdier

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2009, 09:56:17 am »

Another example Our vision works in a way to search for the eyes first, find all of them and then from there on start looking. Eyes painted on a shield could lead the opponent to look at the shield first. Since  many helmets obscure the eyes, it could also take one longer to notice an opponent as human, and not as an object.


For what it's worth, most of the Japanese martial arts I've encountered over the years teach you *not* to look at the eyes, simply because they are so distracting.

Offline Ichimonji Hidetora

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Re: Japanese War Gear - (pics)
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2009, 08:25:46 pm »
Interesting armor and discussion.
Maybe I should post a picture of my own armor, it looks a lot like the white laced armor in the first picture, but with gold flanges on the helmet and with dark blue lace.
Why no picture of the very rare horse barding?  :(

The rope is the chin strap.  Overstated so it could be tied into a big, gaudy bow knot or something, as only the Japanese could do.  They always seemed to make their chin straps out of half-inch rope or larger.

The "shinobi-no-o" is about as thick as a finger, and yes it was typically tied into a big gaudy bow  :green:

The hooks are to hold the front crest.  From the size of them and their position, I'm guessing that the helmet had horns originally.  (Deer, cow, who knows?)  Probably big ones.  Although it could have been some other preposterous front crest - flower arrangement or a stuffed duck or something.  Whatever it was, the hooks held the crest.  The helmet is tight-pattern lace, so it was expensive ... so I'm betting the original crest for it was totally outlandish.

I have never seen a stuffed duck on a Japanese helmet before, but I kinda like the idea  :green:
Also, note that the more outlandish helmet structures can be fake, they were made about 50 years ago, and most crests seen on antique armors are modern and mass produced... or occasionally a somewhat well made fake.
Even famous museums have and often still display reproductions or fakes.
But you sure are right about the very large horns, it would have had a large V shaped stylized pair of horns, they were common to the Ii clan, who were pretty much the only samurai with red armor during the Edo period, so it's very easy to attribute the helmet to the Ii clan.

The red helmet does look like it's in very good condition for it's age, it is possible that it has been partially restored, but I would need to take a close look at it, the mabezashi (visor) does look like it has some wear spots on the gold lacquer, but this is difficult to see because of the low quality of the pictures.
This type of helmet is actually quite cheap though, as the helmet bowl consists of only three plates, and although full lace would have been more expensive, it would have been negligible in this case (it's not a cuirass with lots of lace after all).
Also, the simple flat plates of the neck guard would have been cheaper then plates with build up lacquer (kiritsuke-zane, made to look like real scales), and it would have been a lot more cheaper then real scales.
It sure is a nice looking helmet, and this type was very popular with both poor samurai as well as wealthy daimyo.

Examples of the horns on Ii clan armor:



And yeah, seeing these things gets most people interested.  That's what drives historians, in a field that most people find incredibly boring when they read about it on paper ... but when you're actually holding a 400 year old helmet, or standing inside a 1000 year old tomb, just about everybody gets a lot more interested.

Indeed, there is nothing like getting your hands on antique weapons and armor, I have been very fortunate to have hands-on experience with both Japanese and European antique armor and weapons.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2009, 08:40:19 pm by Ichimonji Hidetora »
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