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Author Topic: Armor  (Read 7642 times)

Offline Jamould

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Armor
« on: September 12, 2010, 02:18:39 PM »
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 05:21:55 AM by Jamould »

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Armor
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2010, 04:22:29 PM »
The torso armor is a typical scale/lamellar layout, common pretty much around the world but rather rare in Japan.  Probably using hardened leather scales, if the movie prop is accurate.  Used a lot more in China and Korea, historically, but by the 1800's Japan had imported a lot of assorted things like that.  Usually simple scale like that was used more for horse armors than on people, but whatever.  The helmet and arm-guards are typical Japanese designs, although from movie props it's hard to tell exactly how they would have been constructed, so narrowing down the date and style would be difficult.

As for historical value, that particular armor was designed off of a real suit of armor, which was seen in a rather famous photograph ... one of the few surviving photographs of the samurai, taken during the Satsuma Rebellion.  (Couldn't find a copy of that picture just now - I'll make a better search some other time.)  So even if it looks like a mismatch of junk from China, Korea, and someplace I can't identify, there is actually proof that there was at least one suit of armor that looked like that one, in Japan in the late 1800's.  As for who made it or why they chose that design, nobody knows.

Anyway, it's not something that would really fit in the Onin War period, unless it was marked "Korean body armor" and entered Japan being worn by pirates. 

It's a historical oddity.  A glitch.  Why the film-makers chose this one very odd armor example to use as a prop is a mystery, unless they just looked at the aforementioned picture and failed to consult anyone who knew much about Japanese armors.  Or maybe they just used the strangest looking example they could find, just to add some variety.  Who knows?

Offline Jamould

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Re: Armor
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 11:36:50 PM »
Thanks. Would You be able to classify it as a Oyoroi, doumaru, Haramaki, or other armor type? And what type of Kabuto is that? Yeah, I Think its Like you said. They took the strangest version they could find to add variety. Most of the other armor in the film, looks like pretty normal Samurai armor.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 05:25:02 AM by Jamould »

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Armor
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2010, 07:16:17 AM »
Haramaki-do just means that the armor ties up in the back.  Do-maru fastens on one side.  There were others, including fasteners on both sides, or in the front, but those were the most common.  From the looks of that movie still, it's probably do-maru.

O-yoroi translates like "great armor", and was a partial plate armor used heavily pre-Onin War, but becoming increasingly ceremonial as lighter and more flexible designs that offered almost as much protection appeared.  You can always pick it out by the heavy box-like trauma plates front and rear.  (For the record, it is heavy, comparable to European combat plate, but it is not as stiff or clumsy as one might assume from its appearance.)

I can't remember the name for those helmets with the high rounded top (it's late and I don't feel like looking it up right now), but they're not that uncommon in Japanese history.  The neck plates and eye guards look pretty standard.  The horns are, well, about what you would expect from Japanese helmets ... nobody could do preposterous headgear like the Japanese samurai.  Seems all their helmets (minus the ones issued to really low-ranking types) had ridiculous crests (often also in horn-like motif), deer or bovine horns, bizarre metal ridges, or sometimes all of the above.  Some were even worse - animal skins or even sometimes entire stuffed animals over the helmet, or wings and plumes of feathers several feet high.  Most had masks with them, of which only a few were seen in that movie - and the mask designs ranged from skeletons and old men to eagles to trolls to clown faces and bunny-rabbit motifs.  (Hard to remember you're trying to kill someone when the only thought going through your head is "why is he wearing a bunny rabbit costume?"  And terribly humiliating when you have to report that your squad was wiped out by what appeared to be a circus clown.)  That helmet in the movie was actually rather conservative, by Japanese standards.

Honestly, I'll bet modern armies would get more recruits if the let soldiers decorate their helmets like that.  "We may lose the war, but our helmets have HORNS!"  Who needs better technology?  We'll just scare the other side to death!

Scotland tried something like that as well, sending their troops to war wearing skirts ... or sometimes full dresses with beads and stuff on them.  This was accompanied by a terrible noise, produced by bagpipes.  It was, and sometimes still is, amazingly effective.  If your enemy is freaked out badly enough, he will forget to fight.

Offline Jamould

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Re: Armor
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2010, 07:28:22 AM »
Thanks very Much for The detailed explaination. I looked it up and was able to find a few conical Kabuto. Shinomi nari, momonari, some Kawari and eboshi any of these names ring any bells?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 03:59:16 AM by Jamould »

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Armor
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 06:57:38 PM »
Eboshi is a high-crested hat, of the type worn by Japanese nobility and certain government officials.  Originally from China, Tang Dynasty and following, where they carried the same status - although exact design elements may vary with time and location.  Sometimes soft cloth, sometimes with armored parts ... but this was generally true of any clothing item in most of Japanese history - armor concealed in clothing was a way of life.

"Kabuto" just translates "helmet".

I'm not too familiar with any of those other terms, although I think I've seen one or two before, somewhere.  Have to wait for someone who actually speaks some Japanese.  Some Japanese gear was named for places or people, so some of those may be proper names as well... and incidentally, that means there could be several names for similar stuff, depending on who made it or where, the difference not being visually obvious.

But do consider that, in a time before standardized mass production, every single chunk of armor was unique.  Some helmets were more rounded, some higher on top, some were just made for people with abnormal head sizes.  There may not even be a term for "helmet with a slightly enlarged upper section, to give it some of the design element of the eboshi" ... it might have just come out that way because whoever made it just liked the look.

Offline Jamould

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Re: Armor
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2010, 06:58:01 PM »
Thanks

Offline Ichimonji Hidetora

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Re: Armor
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2012, 09:28:58 AM »
This type of fish style scale is called gyorin, it was somewhat popular during the late Edo period, suits like this are somewhat rare, but individual armor pieces such as gyorin haidate are not rare... just very uncommon.
Although you would expect a gyorin cuirass to be a flexible do-maru, those few suits that I have seen were actually rigid nimai-do, my antique dealer confirmed this, and also said that gyorin kusazuri are not practical for mounted use, as they do not move up and down as well as normal kusazuri would do (he confirmed this by wearing a replica armor made of gyorin scales during the Soma noma oi horse race festival).
Speaking of him and the festival, he made a documentary about that festival, you can see it here:   http://vimeo.com/4990487
By the way, the armor can be seen here:   http://toraba.thirdsectd-1.titaninternet.co.uk/detail.asp?c_urn=725&show=&urn=12879&pg=1

Edit:  I can't see if Ujio's armor has a hinge on the armor, but I would expect there to be one, making it a nimai-do, still... it's a latex movie prop... so whatever.
The helmet is very clearly a momo nari kabuto, those are quite common, but the  multi-plate variety as seen here is somewhat rare.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 02:48:39 PM by Ichimonji Hidetora »
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Offline Jamould

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Re: Armor
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2012, 11:43:00 AM »
Thanks for the detailed explanation, and that video - very interesting