Japanese armour is closely associated with a variety of traditional techniques that were extremely complex at the time, such as black smithery, gold smithery, dyeing, leatherwork, and woodwork. Each suit of armour reflected the social status of the samurai and his code of ethics. They also gave insights into the wearer's intentions, taste, will, and faith. The armour was constructed with an aim to be practical as well as aesthetically pleasing. Furthermore, it is linked to historical dramas and eloquently conveys the culture of the samurai to future generations.
This vertical lacing process is called “odoshi,” the most important process in making armour. The connected plates become basic components of the trunk, long-sleeves, or helmet, after they are laced together with other attachments.
Tosei-Gusoku usually has more attachments. It is equipped with a kote (a gauntlet) and haidate (thigh guards). Both of these are formed from metal plates sewn onto underclothes. In order to wear the armour, a variety of cords are required. They mainly used braid or leather and there are a large number of braided patterns and methods of dyeing. A multitude of techniques are necessary to produce armour.
Aka Ito Odoshi Yoroi (Yoroi Armour with red racing)
This is an “Ooyoroi” produced at the end of the Heian period, and was dedicated to Shigetada Hatakeyama. It is enshrined in the Musashi Mitake Shrine on top of Mitake Mountain in Ome city, Tokyo. It is designated as a National Treasure, and is the most outstanding suit of armour currently in existence in Japan.
"I spent a long time examining the original armour in detail, and reproduced it as loyally as possible. The braiding work was done by Chizu Nishioka and the goldsmithing by Shuji Ueno. The reproduction was painstakingly accomplished and it is an outstanding replica compared to other replicas of this armour."
Kozakuragawa odoshi yoroi
This is an Ooyoroi (great armour) suit of armour and is enshrined in Sugataten shrine in Ishiwa city in Yamanashi prefecture. It is designated as a national treasure. It is a famous suit of armour without a shield, owned by the house of Kouga Takeda. The armour was assembled in the middle of the Kamakura period (the 14th century) from existing components, which were made in the late Heian period (the 10th century). Then, it was remodelled several times in the Edo Period (the 15h century to the 18th century). The armour has been publicly termed “Kozakuragawa-odoshi”, however according to our research, it was discovered that kozakuragawa was dyed yellow by ‘Kihada’, now identified as “Kozakuragawa- kigaeshi”. Thus, the armour was replicated with the appropriate dyes and methods of the time.
Example of a Japanese military commander armour