Against the backdrop of complex European armored suits, Japanese “ armor” of varnished plates and laces look rather strange. They seemed to be able to do difficult things with their hands in Japan. So why do samurai have such bad armor?
Japan is a country of contrasts
Indeed, Japanese armor – if you leave alone its external beauty – looks rather dull against the background of the usual European ones . You could even say wretchedly. Lacquer and colored shoelaces – of course, things are beautiful, but the skin and thin iron under them – the protection is rather weak.
Historically, a Japanese noble warrior is an equestrian archer . The armor he needed mainly for protection from other archers. This means that if the armor deflects the arrows, reduces the chance of penetration and does not interfere with firing back, this is already a good armor.
This position of the century lasted. Serious changes took shape around the sixteenth century when Europe was already using mightily decent small arms.
Bad blade about bad armor
You can’t call Japanese iron good with all your desire. Samurai blade can easily be not only broken but almost broken. If a battle school requires mostly sword- cutting cuts, armor with good cut protection is already sufficient.
The combination of thin iron plates, thick leather, and laces quite decently protect against such a bad weapon.
The end of the hack
The triumphant arrival in Japan of the Portuguese cuirass and powder weapons decided the fate of the Japanese armor. Local iron, when it was added thickness to bulletproof, turned the cuirass into an almost ten-kilogram product. It was so difficult to move effectively in a maneuverable Japanese battle under such heavy protection that the armor simply began to die out.
Imported – very expensive, its own – is not suitable, wherever you throw it – total hopelessness is everywhere.
The last of the Mohicans
Japanese traditional armor took its last battle in the second half of the 19th century. By that time he had more symbolic significance – as one of the “ spiritual bonds” of the zealots of antiquity. The effectiveness of chain sleeveless shirts and shirts of discreet wearing wore dramatically. Moreover, the opponent could easily have fired from a revolver.
So why do samurai have bad armor?
For its time and place, it was acceptable. It was not possible to do anything more with the Japanese deficit. For internal swords, even such protection became a weighty argument on the battlefield and increased the chances of a soldier’s survival.