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Travis Gorrie




Location: Springfield, Illinois
Joined: 21 Apr 2004

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2009 7:34 pm    Post subject: How effective was Japanese armor         Reply with quote

I watched Spike TV's deadliest warrior (which was horrible) Viking vs Samurai. The only redeaming aspect of the show is the test cutting which shows the effectiveness of the weapon or armor.

Now they displayed that the samurai sword, which based on the movies could slice thru a buick, was completely ineffective against mail. But the never tested the Japanese armor against the Viking weapons.

How effective (good) was the samurai's armor?

Thanks.


PS: for the record I think the Viking should have won
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2009 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No armour can be cut through with a single-handed sword. Even two-handed cuts would be rare. It is a waste of time testing armour against sword cuts since the real threat was from arrows and spears. Japanese armour, just like all armour, was designed to protect against these weapons. Any armour that can resist an arrow or spear thrust has no trouble at all resisting a sword cut.
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Adam S.





Joined: 01 Sep 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jul, 2009 10:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To add to what Dan posted: This is true, you can see it in certain techniques used in their martial tradition. In armor, strikes were concentrated on the neck, face, wrists, and inner thigh; places hard to armor.

Depending on the period we're taking our samurai from there would be several differences in his armor. Placement of plates, type of weave, shape of shoulders and the lames of the helm.

Check outSengoku Daimyo. He's got a good rundown of the different armors of several periods with pictures.
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Nat Lamb




Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jul, 2009 2:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Semi related question, the "maille-esque" chain comprising parts of samurai armour, how effective was that? I wouldn't have thought it would hold up as well as 4 in 1 rivited, but I am no expert on either. Was it mostly a way to hold small plates in place on the yokote, or did it function as an effective armour in its own right (I sometimes wonder if the upper part of the yokote works like jack chains, turning a reasonable percent of incoming slashes for low weight, but dont really know)
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jul, 2009 2:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Japanese weaves are not are strong as 4-in-1 but they partially compensate by being coated in lacquer and stitched to a textile foundation
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Adam S.





Joined: 01 Sep 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jul, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

About half way down THIS page is discussed Japanese Maille.
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Travis Gorrie




Location: Springfield, Illinois
Joined: 21 Apr 2004

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri 17 Jul, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the info, I'll definitely read the info.

Just as a follow up. The armor is effective against spear thrusts. How much so? I believe it was the same show but different episode and the a spear thrust went right thru the mail (fairly easy).
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Adam S.





Joined: 01 Sep 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jul, 2009 10:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Travis Gorrie wrote:
Thanks for the info, I'll definitely read the info.

Just as a follow up. The armor is effective against spear thrusts. How much so? I believe it was the same show but different episode and the a spear thrust went right thru the mail (fairly easy).


I'm sure it went through the mail with ease. The armor that a more wealthy samurai was in possession of was a type of lacquered rawhide lamellar that was woven together with deer-hide or silk cording. The mail was used to fill voids between sections or, in the case of cheep foot-soldier's armor, articulate plates.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Jul, 2009 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nat Lamb wrote:
Was it mostly a way to hold small plates in place on the yokote,


Perhaps you meant on the kote? The yokote is the dividing line between the "main "edge and the point on the blade of a Japanese sword, so nobody would want to hold small plates in place with mail there....
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Douglas S





Joined: 18 Feb 2004

Posts: 177

PostPosted: Mon 20 Jul, 2009 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now what modern infantryman would waste rifle bullets trying to shoot a tank? If the tank commander pokes his head up, then you have a target. Otherwise, you find something easier to hit or get a different weapon.

I don't see this basic idea changing with the centuries.
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William Knight




Location: Mid atlantic, US
Joined: 02 Oct 2005

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PostPosted: Tue 21 Jul, 2009 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm no expert on japanese armour, but I'm pretty sure that most surviving pre-Edo period armour is laquered metal, not rawhide.
-Wilhelm
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Max Chouinard




Location: Quebec, Qc
Joined: 23 Apr 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 21 Jul, 2009 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You are right. Rawhide was used from time to time but it was surely not used by the upper echelons. As for mail there are examples of the 4 in 1 style. Mail was actually harder than the European counterpart and often was made of double rings, So this usually compensated for the fact that it was butted. Japanese armor was built the way it is to fight in Japanese conditions. That means rice padies, excruciating heat and humidity, lots of water and mountains (al those conditions varying from where you hailed from; for example the Takeda clan army was different from the Uesugi one, one was coming from a mostly flat region with lots of plains, the other from a mountainous region). When we see pictures of warriors covered in arrows, we can see that the armor did its job.
Maxime Chouinard

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Quebec City Kenjutsu

I don't do longsword
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