Samurai Armour

Volume I: The Japanese Cuirass

Samurai Armour cover


For beauty, precision and strength, nothing has ever matched the combination of form and function found in the armour of the samurai. For a samurai, the consummate warrior, his suit of armour was so much more than 'just' protective equipment that could save his life in the heat of battle--it was the embodiment of his personality, social status and very soul.

This volume, the first in a two-part series on the armour of the samurai, traces first the history of the samurai themselves and then examines the history and evolution of the cuirass or dou, the armour protecting the samurai's chest. Drawing on over 20 years of research and technical work by Trevor Absolon, a leading expert, this is a complete study of this fundamental aspect of samurai armour construction. Stunningly illustrated with photographs and diagrams throughout, this is more than just a detailed technical exploration; it is a meditation on a process that was, and still is, nothing short of an art form.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. Dou – Cuirass: the foundation of Japanese armour
3. Ancient armour: Tanko, Keiko and Mencho, 3rd–9th centuries
4. Early forms of Samurai armour: O-yoroi, Dou-maru, Maru-dou, Hara-maki and Hara-ate. 10th–15th centuries
5. Pre-modern transitional period dou designs: Mogami-dou and Nuinobe Dou, 15th–16th centuries
6. Tosei Dou – modern cuirass Part I: Okegawa Yokohagi constructed cuirass and related styles, 16th century onward
7. Tosei Dou - modern cuirass Part II: Tatehagi Okegawa constructed cuirass and related dou styles, 16th century onward
8. Tosei Dou - modern cuirass part III: Okashi Gusoku and other alternative forms of cuirass, 16th century onward
9. Coming full circle - the revival of ancient armour styles, 17th–19th centuries
10. The Westernization of Japanese armour, 19th–21st centuries


Product details

Published Nov 21 2017
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 372
ISBN 9781472807960
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 400 col
Dimensions 11 x 9 inches
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Trevor Absolon

Trevor Absolon's passion for history and militaria…


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