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Adam D. Kent-Isaac




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2009 2:10 am    Post subject: Was European steel armour ever traded to the Japanese?         Reply with quote

The title of the question says it all, basically. During the 1500s when there was trade between Europe and Japan, were European-style plate armours sold or traded to the Japanese? Are there any depictions or recorded instances of any Japanese fighting men adopting European plate?
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2009 2:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, it is often menthioned that parts of European Armour where incorporated into Japanese ones.
These would be exemples of such incorporation:

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2009 2:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Considering that the most important weapons on the Japanese battlefield were pike and musket (or at least yari and musket), it isn't surprising that bullet-resistant breastplates were probably the most popular Western addition to Japanese armours.

I've seen photos of Japanese helmets with European bowls.
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Tom L.




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2009 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In Arms and Armour of the Samurai by I. Bottomley and A.P. Hopson, there is a photo of a French Napoleonic cuirrasier armour that has been modified to suit Japanese tastes.

Supposedly (according to the book), full sets of genuine foreign armour was a rarity that only the wealthy could afford. . Usually, ony the cuirass, helmet and gorget were used. Some suits that seem to consist of a western cuirass and helmet turn out to be inspired copies

What was less rare though was the usage of Western helmets. The cabasset was popular for this. These helmets were modified to take a Japanese style neckguard. The Momonari kabuto (peach shaped helmet), was inspired by the appearance of modified European cabasset helmets. Simple Cuirasses were also imported and outfitted with tassets in the Japanese style and were often given a russet finish.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2009 2:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

European armour in japanese use is covered in the spotlight artivle on the evolution of japanese armour; http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_jpn_armour.html
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2009 6:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
I've seen photos of Japanese helmets with European bowls.


And vice-versa: Some of the zischagge helmets look remarkably like the Japanese kabuto.

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Dec, 2009 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Timo Nieminen wrote:
I've seen photos of Japanese helmets with European bowls.


And vice-versa: Some of the zischagge helmets look remarkably like the Japanese kabuto.


I considered making an instant kabuto for my son using a modern East German helmet as the bowl. But could I find my neckguard strips? (Might still happen when I find the pieces, but it would be for me.)
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