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Samurai Armor Part 2:

When people think of the samurai, generally the first thing which comes to mind is the swords which they used, often this may be the only thing which comes to mind and is as far as the researchers interest extends. Samurai Armor is a hugely important and equally fascinating, but unfortunately a very often overlooked aspect of the samurai tradition.

The first attempts the samurai made at protective armor was of the solid metal plating kind, which curbed the samurai's ability to manoeuvre so badly due to its weight and non-flexibility, it was quickly found to be detrimental to the wearer. This, of course, was the complete opposite of what the samurai were trying to achieve, so development of this type of armor was quickly abandoned. Instead the samurai looked to other forms of armor which would protect them but not take away from their manoeuvrability. Manoeuvrability, after all, is the key reason by which the samurai were such effective warriors. Instead the samurai moved in the direction of having numerous tiny plates tied together usually by leather laces, rather than simply one big solid rigid plate.

Samurai culture and indeed Japanese fighting methods are often attributed to nature and its movements, and the development of this 'fish scale' armor it is thought may actually of come about from this observation. What the samurai didn't do however, was to make the suit in its entirety of metal 'scales' due to the fact it would of weighed around the same, if not more due to overlapping of scales as a whole rigid suit. Instead, the samurai decided on the most vulnerable places of the human body and placed the stronger metal scales here. Elsewhere where protection was needed on the body thick leather scales would be in place.

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