Learn About the Key Parts of Yoroi Armor!

Yoroi Armor

The Samurai warriors had different weapons that they used to fight against their enemies. In most cases, they also used to wear an armor called Yoroi. This armor was made up of small pieces of metal that were attached to cords and silk laces, making it flexible as well as easy for the warrior to wear in battles.

This is an extremely rare armor because it usually has the original white laces that hold it together and the colorful laces that are along the skirt’s edges. 

No doubt, the Samurai armor is uniquely and intricately crafted, allowing these pieces of art to give you a great insight into Japan’s history. In this article, you will learn about the key parts of the Yoroi armor. 

Samurai helmet

The most recognizable and distinctive piece of the Yoroi armor is the helmet also called kabuto. The helmet of the Japanese warrior made them recognizable as a samurai warrior and is symbolic of the craftsmanship and intricate skill that was involved in designing the armor.  

You should note that these helmets were usually made up of leather in earlier Japanese history. But they later changed to iron and used leather paddling or iron scales to help them deflect piercing by the katana sword or arrows. A samurai’s helmet also has a crest on top to demonstrate their allegiance, and which master they were fighting for.

It’s worth mentioning that the helmet was important to the samurai warriors when it comes to spiritual and physical terms. Sometimes, the helmet would have a menpo which was a chin guard that was attached by two hooks on the helmet’s side.

The menpo chin guard initially only had chin straps, but with the design of the armor becoming more sophisticated, the chin guard started having its own designs. This includes the design that covered the entire mouth and could be carved into specific fearsome facial designs.

The body armor

The torso armor was considered to be the largest item that a warrior would wear. It has the breastplate that was designed to help with mobility, and to protect the torso of a samurai warrior in battles while not preventing their movement. This is different from the European knights who preferred heavier and thicker metal plates designed to protect them. 

The chest plate for the samurai armor was usually made of leather, but they also later changed to iron scales or plates. There was the scaling effect that gave this armor durability while creating a toughness that offered protection from piercing arrows. The chest plate had a lacquer finish to make it weather-proof. It also has this type of finish to prevent weakening or any damage when exposed to the elements.

The leg armor

The leg armor or the kusazari is also another important piece of armor that was pretty unique to the Samurai warriors. The armor had folds of chain to protect the thighs. Also, the upper legs of a samurai warrior would look like a skirt. This was a clever way of keeping the legs of a horse rider safe from blows while riding their horse into battle.

The arm armor

The feet and hands of a samurai warrior also had individual guards that were designed to protect them. The main function of these guards was to allow the warrior to be light on their feet while having their hands and feet protected against injury. Because they were light, the samurai warriors could wield their weapons like the katana sword against their opponents while protecting themselves from counter-attacks from the enemies. 

The kote arm guard was a cylindrical tube of cloth that was reinforced with chain mail as well as an armor plate to give extra strength. These would give enough protection to the warrior from above their elbow to their finger.

During the Kamakura period, the Japanese warriors utilized this armor to cover just one of their arms so that they could fire arrows using their bows effectively. But this changed because the katana sword gradually became a favorite weapon for the samurai. 

You should also note that the traditional images of samurai warriors show them armed with swords, but archery also used to play a crucial role during the battles. There was an art of kyudo that became one of the main principles for the warriors as a way of instilling discipline and concentration.

The Yabusane refers to the mounted samurai archers who usually played decisive roles when it came to the tactics of military commanders. The arrival of firearms reduced the efficacy of archers on most battlefields, but the samurai tradition of archery is celebrated to this day.

As you can see, the samurai armor had many pieces that were designed to perform specific roles. You can find some reputable Samurai sword suppliers that keep these armors. But you need to make sure that you are purchasing authentic samurai armor, especially if you are a collector. 

Yoroi Armor article and permission to publish here provided by Rodmarc Edulan. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on December 15, 2022.