Heavy Armor

Heavy Armor

Heavy Armor, sometimes called Grand Armor, was the preferred armor of samurai on the front lines of battle. [1]

It was made of was generally made of many small steel or leather plates connected to each other by rivets, lace, or chain mail. These armor plates could be attached to a leather or cloth backing. It was designed to be as lightweight as possible as the samurai had many tasks including riding a horse, archery or using a sword. It was often brightly painted. Silk clothing was worn as protection from arrows, trapping the barbs and making it easier for the samurai to pull it out.

  • A skirted vhest armor made up of iron and or leather plates of various sizes and shapes with pendants of iron or leather plates hanging from the front and back which protected the lower body and upper leg.
  • Large rectangular shoulder protections called sode made from iron and or leather plates.
  • Armoured gloves which extended to the shoulder or gauntlets called kote which covered the forearms.
  • A full helm, known as the kabuto, made from plates riveted together. It features a strong bowl, which protects the crown of the head, a suspended series of articulated plates to protect the neck, and often a crest of the clan or mon. A neck guard made from several layers of curved iron or leather strips was suspended from the bottom edge of the kabuto.
  • A lacquered metal face called a menpo was designed to tie and secure the top heavy helmet kabuto to. The menpo had a throat guard made from several layers of iron or leather strips suspended from the bottom edge. It which often featured a face mask sculpted in the visage of a fearsome beast or other creature.
  • Thigh guards called haidate which tied around the waist and covered the upper thighs. These were made from cloth with small iron and or leather plates of various size and shape, usually connected to each other by chain armor and sewn directly to the cloth.
  • Shin guards called suneate made from iron narrow iron splints connected together by chain armor and sewn to cloth and tied around the calf.
  • A sash called an obi for holding the katana and wakizashi.

While this armor offered superior protection, it came at the cost of speed and maneuverability. For samurai who were often in the press of battle, it was considered well worth its drawbacks as it enabled them to absorb blows which would maim or kill more lightly armored combatants.[citation needed]

Heavy armor could also be worn by cavalry bushi, and in this case it was constructed so as to be spilt front and back so the wearer could ride a horse.

External Links Edit


  1. Legend of the Five Rings; Fourth Edition, p. 198

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