Japanese chain garments as armor or kusari gusoku.
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Posted on Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:30 pm
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MusicMan wrote:
Do you know why they would have used brass instead of the traditional iron and laquering?
The metal used would not rust, therefore no lacquer was needed. It would have been more expensive to use brass but as you can see this is a high quality armor that must have been owned by someone who could afford it.

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Posted on Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:57 pm
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In Austria I saw some (European) armor that was obviously impractical for battle, but was never built with the intention of seeing combat. It was for balls and the like; it was purely decorative. This may be something similar--a decorative armor intended to show off the wealth of the wearer.

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Posted on Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:34 pm
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A newly translated chapter on Japanese mail from "Nihon katchū no shin kenkyū" (new study of Japanese armor) by Hachirō Yamagami, 1928, has supplied some more information on Japanese riveted mail, it states that is was introduced by the West before the 1600s and that it was copied and made in Japan as well. Mr Yamagami was an author of several book on the subject of Japanese armor and a well respected researcher, as far as I know this is the first English translation of this chapter.

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Nanban-karakuri-gusari (南蛮からくり鎖): Shortly also called karakuri-nanban (繰南蛮). A
kind of nanban-gusari with thick, riveted-together rings, introduced from the West during the
Sengoku era and copied and made locally in Japan. As Myôchin Ryôei (明珍了栄) made a lot of them, they were also called “Ryôei´s karakuri-gusari” (Ryô´ei no karakuri-gusari). An armor attributed to Ryôei which makes use of this kind of mail is preserved in the Ibun-jinja (伊文神社) of former Mikawa province (see picture p. 1151). Apart from that, nanban-karakuri-gusari mail can also be seen on kote, haidate, and suneate of an armor worn by Koide Yoshichika (小出吉親, 1590-1668), coming from the former collection of the Koide viscount family which were the old daimyô of the Sonobe fief (園部藩) of Tanba province. Incidentally, the nimai-dô cuirass of the Koide armor itself makes use of nanban-karakuri- gusari too.



All of the mail of this armor is karakuri-namban kusari (riveted Japanese mail).

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Posted on Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:12 am
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New research into the composition of the wire used in Japanese mail has revealed bars were cut from a steel plate, the bars were then drawn into wire. This is the first research I know of which proves that Japanese mail was manufactured from steel. The research paper is in Japanese, here is a small translated section and a link to the full pdf, if this ever gets translated I will post the translation.


https://www.jim.or.jp/journal/j/pdf3/78/04/149.pdf
The Japan Institute of Metals and Materials, "Manufacturing Technique of Steel Chains Used for Japanese Armors from the End of the Muromachi to the Edo Period", by Natsuko Kugiya, Kazuhiro Nagata and Masahiro Kitada, Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo, published April 1, 2014.

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The manufacturing technique of steel chains used for four Japanese armors from the end of Muromachi to the Edo period has been investigated. The chains used in Kusazuri (tasset) and two types of Kote (guntlet) were composed of steel rings in round and oval shapes, while those used in Kusari katabira (chainmail) was only round. As for the former ones, round rings were connected by oval rings. The diameter of steel wire of rings was about 1 mm. The steel wire was produced from steel plate with a carbon content of 0.11 to 0.40 mass. Steel was forged and welded twice to make a plate which was cut into a bar. The steel bar was drawn into standardized wires by a die with a draft percentage of about 25 and annealed. The drawing of standardized wire followed by annealing was repeated several times to make wire for armors. The crystal grains in the wires were elongated in the axial direction and the aspect ratio of grain in the oval rings was larger than that in the round rings. The wire was rolled around a stick and cut by chisel to make rings.



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Posted on Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:28 am
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MusicMan wrote:

Now this one is really interesting. It looks a great deal like some Indian riveted maille that I have seen.

I do find the straps on the top of the shin guards, Abumi zuri no kawa I believe, interesting in how they are fastened. Is this typical? (the straps on the top that wrap around.)


Sorry, I missed your question, yes the straps on the suneate ate typically sewn to the suneate in that general manner.

As for the riveting on the Japanese riveted mail, it does have much more in common with the look of Indian riveted mail than European riveted mail. So far there is no conclusive proof that the Japanese were actually introduced to European riveted mail by the Portuguese who first landed in Japan around 1543. The Portuguese had taken control of Goa India at that time, it would not have been out of the question for the Portuguese to have brought Indian armor with them when they accidentally landed in Japan.

Here are some examples of Japanese riveted mail compared to European riveted mail and Indian riveted mail.


Japanese riveted mail left, European alternating solid and riveted link mail on the right, the European rivet head is much different than the Japanese rivet head.



Japanese riveted mail left, Indian alternating solid and riveted link mail on the right, notice how similar the rivet head is on both examples.

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Posted on Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:52 pm
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Those are some great new translations! Thank you for keeping us updated on this topic. It is always great to cross over to another continent every once in a while for new ways of looking at things.


Once you stop learning, you stop living, so...
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MailleCode V2.0 T5.3 R4.4 E0.0 Feur MFe.sBr Wg Cwb G.7-5.1 I3.1-11 N20.5 Pj Dcdjt Xa1w2 S08

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Posted on Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:00 am
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MusicMan wrote:
It looks to me like they are small coils. There seems to be a pattern of horizontal to vertical rings which I am not sure about why that occurs.


It looks like a sort of quadrupled/quintupled/sextupled J4in1 using uncut coils of six rings horizontally, coils of five vertically which are joined by what looks like four somewhat larger inner rings. It looks like it would be heavy but I imagine it would provide very decent protection along with reducing the production time to make the piece.

I'm guessing the horizontal/vertical variation on the ring/coil count forces the coils to the ride higher on the sides of the inner ring to counteract gravity, keeping the pattern "square" overall. If the horizontal coils only had five rings the pattern would stretch out vertically and the holes or spaces between the coils would look like rectangles.

I'm going to have to go make some to play around with, it looks like it could be a fun weave. If I'm thinking correctly the coils would help distribute impacts across a larger area of the base ring(s) hopefully preventing them from opening. Spring hard coils to catch and break thin blade edges... hmmm.... to the chalkboard.


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Posted on Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:22 am
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Levi wrote:
I'm guessing the horizontal/vertical variation on the ring/coil count forces the coils to the ride higher on the sides of the inner ring to counteract gravity, keeping the pattern "square" overall. If the horizontal coils only had five rings the pattern would stretch out vertically and the holes or spaces between the coils would look like rectangles.

I'm going to have to go make some to play around with, it looks like it could be a fun weave. If I'm thinking correctly the coils would help distribute impacts across a larger area of the base ring(s) hopefully preventing them from opening. Spring hard coils to catch and break thin blade edges... hmmm.... to the chalkboard.


I haven't had a chance to experiment around with it so if you get around to it PLEASE share your results. What you have listed sounds like a solid theory you have there. Keep us posted!


Once you stop learning, you stop living, so...
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Try new things.
Share what you know.

MailleCode V2.0 T5.3 R4.4 E0.0 Feur MFe.sBr Wg Cwb G.7-5.1 I3.1-11 N20.5 Pj Dcdjt Xa1w2 S08

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Posted on Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:27 am
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Levi wrote:
It looks like a sort of quadrupled/quintupled/sextupled J4in1 using uncut coils of six rings horizontally, coils of five vertically which are joined by what looks like four somewhat larger inner rings.

Judging by the connectors coils' look, I think the large rings (coils?) were put first as closed/solid rings, and then the connectors coils inserted like keyrings.
That would explain why almost all connectors appear to be stretched... like what happens to a keyring (or any split ring) when you open it too widely.

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Posted on Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:35 pm
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I've started a thread over here explaining my results thus far.


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