Samurai are a very famous aspect of Japanese history. you may have seen films about these brave and noble warriors, or seen them in anime. Whichever way you have come to know samurai there is always on sure-fire way to recognise them: their armour.
The start of armour wearing in Japan began in the 4th century when influence from China and Korea were strong. The original armour differed between that worn by foot soldiers and that worn by horsemen, but both were similar in production; iron plates connected by leather. The Heian period is where Japanese armour truly evolved. This is when the Dō, breastplate, began to be used. The armour was made from leather and iron scales and then, as it developed, leather and silk lace were used to make individual scales. Once the Portuguese had visited Japan the nature of armour changed. This is because firearms were introduced to Japan, and traditional armour did not give the protection needed to fight. The traditional scale armour became plate armour made from iron and steel. Bulletproof armour was even developed meaning that the samurai could continue in the new age battles.
Along with the breastplate, the helmets worn by samurai are instantly recognisable, often with ornate designs and additions, such as a crest or horns or a sun disc in the centre. One of the other recognisable aspects are the leg and shoulder coverings traditionally made of scaled armour. I can imagine seeing a samurai for the first time and being frightened of their armour and strength!
There are lots of ways to dress up in Japan, be it cosplay or by renting a kimono or yukata. Now you can also dress as samurai and have your photo taken. A studio is opening in Tokyo for a short period of time. Opening on the 27/10 until the 05/11 ‘Samurai Studio’ allows men and women to don ornately reproduced samurai armour and have a photo shoot! You can even have samurai accessories, such as katana and swords. The studio will help you get the best picture for a keepsake.
When: October 27th, 2015 – November 5th, 2015