The Great Armour, O-yoroi

How did samurai don the fabulous armour?

By Tachibana Museum

O-yoroi armour, sword and quiverTachibana Museum

O-yoroi or also known as Great armour was primarily used between the 10th and 13th centuries. Modern period armours are commonly displayed in an erected state, whereas the O-yoroi was kept in a folded state. The picture scroll of the Mongol invasion attempts against Japan in the 13th century also depicts the O-yoroi in a folded state. This is because the cuirass of the armour before the 13th century was not bound at the upper and lower parts of nagakawa (a part of the cuirass which is wrapped around the torso). This enables the armour to be folded.

Warrior general, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum
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Warrior general: Seo Seiichi, Height: 172 cm

Warrior attendant, From the collection of: Tachibana Museum
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Warrior attendant: Tsuji Masaki, Height: 172 cm

Warrior in kogusoku styleTachibana Museum

Warrior in kogusoku style

Ko-gusoku is a light equipped style that was usually worn while samurai warrior was relaxing during battles.

Kogusoku style on the right sideTachibana Museum

The edge of the right sleeve has a cord which is put through the opening of the sleeve to tie it up and hang it on the middle finger.

Warrior in kogusoku styleTachibana Museum

For attaching the archer’s sleeve on the left arm, the left sleeve of the robe is taken off and neatly tucked into the right pocket of the robe.

The hem of the robe is also tucked and tied up at the knees in order to attach the shin guards.

Kogusoku style on the right sideTachibana Museum

Kogusoku style on the right side

The protector on the right side is called “waidate”.

It is held sufficiently by a card which is just tied around the body without hanging on the shoulder.

Warrior general putting on an armour with assistanceTachibana Museum

Warrior general putting on an armour with assistance

Osode (shoulder guards), kyubi-ita (a left chest protector) and sendan-ita (a right chest protector) are fitted and mounted in sequence.

Warrior in O-yoroi armourTachibana Museum

Warrior in O-yoroi armour

O-yoroi armour with swordsTachibana Museum

O-yoroi armour with swords

A short sword is inserted into the waist cord while the long sword is in his hand. There is no upper belt unlike the typical component of modern armours.

Back side of O-yoroi armourTachibana Museum

Back side of O-yoroi armour

A quiver is hung on the right side of his back, and a bow is in his left hand.

Warrior in Omodaka armourTachibana Museum

Warrior in Omodaka armour

A warrior attendant wears a red armour with a lace pattern of omodaka (arrowhead-leaf), and holds a naginata (halberd) in his right hand. The headgear is a traditional cap for samurai called “samurai eboshi”.

Warrior holding a nagingataTachibana Museum

Warrior holding a nagingata

A warrior attendant wears a helmet and holds a naginata (halberd) under his right arm.

Warriors in armours and helmetsTachibana Museum

Warriors in armours and helmets

A warrior general and his attendant are wearing their helmets. The general is fastening his helmet with its braid.

Warriors in the sitting positionTachibana Museum

Warriors in a sitting position

A warrior general is sitting on a shogi (folding stool) and his attendant is waiting for orders.

Warrior holding a bowTachibana Museum

Warrior holding a bow

Bows in this period were not as arched as the ones of the modern era.

Warrior shooting an arrowTachibana Museum

Warrior shooting an arrow

A warrior general fits a karimata (forked head) arrow to the string.

Credits: Story

Tachibana Foundation
TACHIBANA MUSEUM
NISHIOKA SAMURAI’S ARMER & BRAIDING STUDIO

Created by Executive Committee of the 450th anniversary of Tachibana Muneshige’s birth “Discovery & Experience Project of Castle Town and Samurai Culture in Yanagawa”

Supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal 2017

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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