The Samurai Armor

Actor in Samurai Armor MET
  • It was designed to help the samurai move freely. It consists of more than 15 different pieces compared to a few pieces of European armors.
  • It weighs about 20 kgs (avg.) and it takes 30-40 minutes to put it on. A western armor in avg. weighs 40 kgs. A helper usually assisted the samurai to put on the armor.
  • The armor reflects the colors of the clan, the crest of the clan, the personality of the daimyo. It is made to indicate the status of the samurai.
samurai armor
  • Sometimes the samurai used spikes in the back to show themselves taller than they are.
  • The samurai armor tended to be small as the avg. samurai height was about 1.55m (about 5 feet).
  • It takes about a year to make the armor of a high ranking samurai. Low ranking samurai and the foot soldiers had rather simpler armors.
  • The use of metal became more popular after the gunpowder was introduced since it can protect from the musket fire.
Samurai Armor in the British Museum
  • Samurai did not use the white color in their armors because it shows the blood and it may demoralize the rest of the army.
  • It is usually made out of the layers of steel laced together with silk and leather and lacquered afterwards.
Samurai Armor
  • Samurai’s favorite animal was a bear, many samurai had shoes made out of bear skin.
  • The use of silk and fabric reduced by time because the armor used to get wet so easily which was not good for the hot summers and cold winters, in addition to ticks and fleas.
  • Kyubino ito and sendanno ito, small separate leather plates are worn on the chest to make sure the bow and the arms do not damage the main armor plate.
  • If the samurai is fighting without the kabuto or a scabbard meaning he is ready to die on that day.
  • The samurai did not have shields because the sword is supposed to be used by two hands and the whole armor should act as a shield.
  • During the peaceful times the samurai still made and show off the armors to impress the other samurai and to wear them in ceremonies.
  • The elaborate armors were worn by the daimyo and bushi, the foot soldiers wore very thin and simple armors.