Samurai Armor

Suit of Armor, Japan, Asia
Early 18th Century
CIS 5475

The famous samurai warriors of Japan were outfitted with an impressive array of armor and weapons. This suit of armor likely dates from the early 18th century. It is made from lacquered metal plates, laced together with silk cords, as well sections links of metal chainmail and small metal plates sewn to cloth backing. The complete suit of armor, from the ornate kabuto (helmet) to the suneate (shin guards) gave its wearer excellent protection from the arrows, swords, and spears of his enemies. Certain details of this armor, plus its excellent condition, suggest it comes from the Edo Period of Japanese history (1608-1863 AD), a time when open warfare was rare, and armor seldom used.


Cranbrook Institute of Science Collections article

“The Evolution of Japanese Armor,” an online article from

“An Online Japanese Armour Manual,” this is a very in-depth guide meant for devout hobbyists intending on creating their own set of armor. The author has several print publications on Japanese weapons and armor, and lived and studied in Japan for several years.

“Welcome to Detroit Kendo Dojo,” is the homepage of the Detroit Kendo Dojo, a martial arts studio dedicated to the martial art of Kendo. Kendo practitioners wear a modernized and simplified version of traditional armor and spar with bamboo swords called shinai. As with many other traditional Japanese martial arts, kendo is seen both as a sport and a means of personal improvement. The dojo (school) is open to new members.

“Japanese Martial Arts Center” is a traditional martial arts dojo (school) in Ann Arbor, Michigan that includes instruction in iaido, the art of drawing and cutting with the katana, or “samurai sword.” Unlike kendo, iaido is a solo practice, where practioners learn traditional movements of the sword, first with a wooden practice sword, then later with a live blade.