Samurai Armour

Samurai Armour

Volume I: The Japanese Cuirass

General Military
  • Author: Trevor Absolon
  • Short code: GNM
  • Publication Date: 30 Nov 2017
  • Number of Pages: 372
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About this Product

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. Illustrated throughout with photographs and diagrams, 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.

Biographical Note

Trevor Absolon's passion for history and militaria was well developed by the time he bought his first book by Osprey Publishing at the age of nine. He moved to Japan in the early 1990s and immersed himself in all aspects of traditional Japanese culture, becoming, in 2007, the first and only non-Japanese national to ever hold a formal rank and title in the prestigious Soma Noma-oi, or Wild Horse Chase, the oldest and last authentic samurai equestrian event still held in Japan which dates back to the tenth century. Through his business and private collection Trevor has documented and studied tens of thousands of authentic items of samurai armour, which has helped him to achieve an unrivalled understanding of these fascinating items - attested to by his large international clientele of private collectors and renowned museums. Trevor has privately published three books on samurai armour and co-produced a documentary film about the Soma Noma-oi.


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

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