Japanese chain garments as armor or kusari gusoku.
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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:21 am
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american samurai wrote:
..does this look like someone sat down with some "wire" and made themselves a suit of chain armor in their spare time while bored?


I suspect they were not bored... In fact, I suspect that they were making the maille in question for sale. I'm not sure anyone was implying otherwise, however...

That being said, yes, I think you'll find that piece in question was indeed made with wire... Likely hand drawn iron or steel. Especially if the rings are butted.

Non-butted maille made before the present day advent of welders, would have been Riveted (or at least, half riveted, with the remainder of rings being punched from thin stock.)


american samurai wrote:
DaegonPhyn, all the chain armor I have shown uses a 4 in 1 pettern some have round connecting rings and some have oval connecting rings but it is all 4 in 1 1 ring with 4 connectors....


DaegonPhyn was, I believe, commenting on the difference in style between the two CONNECTION types, not the ring counts... Maille weaves here at MAIL (and, indeed, by most of the mailling world) are put into arbitrary 'families'...

Japanese and European being two families... While not nessecarily referring to the area of origin, as much as the style of the majority of maille that came out of those particular areas.



american samurai... You are presenting a lot of new facts and information here, it is natural for people to be skeptical of something that is counter to what they previously knew as 'fact'... I don't think anyone is calling you a liar, they are just looking for sources and more information on the subject!

Wikipedia, Forums, Websites in another langue and .info websites are generally not regarded as 'credible' sources by people online as a whole. (I say generally, because there are always situations where the standard concepts do not apply)... Which is probably the cause of a lot of skepticism in this thread, once some more concrete information on the subject becomes available, I'm certain things will calm down a little bit in here Smile This dicussion is starting to get a little heated.


That's all I have to say on the subject... I find this entire discussion quite interesting, and look forward to reading more on it. Just please keep the attacks to a minimum.

Carry on.



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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:12 am
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american samurai wrote:
Heres another one, does it look like a "low level" armor to you..it looks pretty nice to me!

"Low level armour" or "munition armour" doesn't mean that the armour looks ugly. It simply means that this kind of armour could be produced very fast. It was not a made-to-measure armour, but a simple, plain armour for the troops.


american samurai wrote:
they are just what they seem to be, complete sets of JAPANESE chain armors, you can tell by the construction, they look nothing like the mail Europeans would have sent as gifts.

Yes, but the weave which is used for the chain-mail is a typical european weave and not a typical japanese weave.

This is a typical european 4 in 1 weave:

You can choose any ring and you will see that it is connected to four other rings.

And this is a typical japanese 4 in 1 weave:

Here only the big lying rings are connected to four other rings. The small standing rings are only connected to two rings.

Your japanese chain armour is still a japanese chain armour, but the chain-mail is made in a european weave (regarding to the last three pictures you've shown us).

A quote from this article (below Figure 15):
Quote:
Another type of mail appeared In the 16th century. It was called namban-gusari and was copied from the European mail form (namban, the Japanese term for Europeans, means "south barbarians"). It was the typical four-in-one mail but was made in the traditional Japanese manner of small butted rings. The kusari was always lacquered, usually in black, to protect it from corrosion.


Achim

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:32 pm
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I'll admit my ignorance of this subject--I've sort of skimped on studying most of human history. When did Europe and the West start interacting with Japan? I know Europe and Japan traded for a bit, then there was a cultural backlash and Japan pretty much went isolationist. Then it was opened up again for trade (not exactly under the best circumstances, if I recall). You guys are throwing a fair number of dates around, which I for one really appreciate. However, I don't have the proper context to put them in (and I think it'd be helpful in for the thread itself, which is why I'm asking instead of looking it up myself

Quote:
..does this look like someone sat down with some "wire" and made themselves a suit of chain armor in their spare time while bored?
You've seen the library, right? Razz

On a more serious note, "low grade" hardly means "unprofessional". It's a cost/benefit analysis. Some people are worth keeping safe, and others....not so much. People die in battle. Sure, you try to prevent it, but in the end saving one ashigaru life wasn't worth a huge investment of capital. It's be better strategy to let more ashigaru die, and put the money towards better weapons, more troops, or better protection for commanders. Cold choice, but one that needs to be made sometimes. So you make some low-grade armor that protects well enough, but isn't too expensive. The USA does this to this day, as does every other commander.

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:54 pm
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I have a couple of questions on a slightly different topic that you mentioned. What is the difference between samurai armor and ninja armor?


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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:39 pm
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Quote:
a full suit of chain armor from hood to shoes weighed around 20 lbs, and could be easily carried as compared to iron plate armor which was at least twice as heavy, and very bulky, harder to transport and much more expensive and time consuming to produce...


I doubt that maille armor would weigh 20 lbs hood to shoe. If those suits you've shown are that light, are they actually made of steel? That seems a bit surprising to me. But I could be wrong.

And I apparently didn't see, but those closer pictures help. All kusari seem to have european 4-in-1 rather than a japanese weave style. And I'll accept that that could have been transmitted from the europeans, but, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't butted european 4-in-1 fairly weak in comparison to butted japanese maille styles. The japanese could have used european maille because it's easier to construct, but I feel it would have been ornamental more than actual used armor and would have been uncommon. Not common as american samurai is suggesting.

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:19 pm
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MusicMan wrote:
I have a couple of questions on a slightly different topic that you mentioned. What is the difference between samurai armor and ninja armor?
MusicMan, its the same thing, people use the word "ninja" as a selling point or to try to explain their way around this type of armor as they do not know the facts, and just because it sounds interesting, people have also called it...firemans armor (as though a fire man would were chain armor to put out a fire a fire) police mans armor, retainers armor. Whatever you call it, the fact remains the Japanese did make and use chain armor.

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:25 pm
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DaegonPhyn wrote:

I doubt that maille armor would weigh 20 lbs hood to shoe. If those suits you've shown are that light, are they actually made of steel? That seems a bit surprising to me. But I could be wrong.


I don't know, I can see them weighing only 20 lbs. I have never had the opportunity to actually hold any of it mind you, but what I saw in a museum one time looked "flimsy" compaired to European maille. Because of the smaller wire diameters used and the openness of the weave I could see it only weighing that much.

It is really interesting that Am.Sa. showed us pictures of full suits that used what we call "European 4-1", but if you look at some of the other pictures that he posted in the original post there are also examples of what we would call "Japanese 4-1."

This just gets me thinking about the true origins of maille and if there isn't a common ancestry to both "families."


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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:56 pm
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But if the maille is so flimsy there's not much point to it. Which is why I think the pieces that do exist were purely ornamental and shouldn't really be considered armor. And the mix of european and japanese 4-in-1 is only because the europeans traded with the japanese around the 1500s which brought in their maille style. The two styles are actually very different if you consider them.

Oh and Dinwar...here's a simple history of european-japanese relations.
Around the late 1400s and early 1500s specifically Portuguese traders began trading with Japan. They brought in firearms. Some years later other european nations began trading in japan as well. Soon after in the 1600s the shogunate took power and thought that the european traders signaled an invasion. There was a large rebellion by converted japanese christians in 1637. The rebellion and the shogunates wariness led to japan being secluded. Only traders from the netherlands and china were allowed and in very few locations. That was also when firearms were banned. This lasted till 1853 when Commodore Perry took four warships straight into Edo harbor. Those ships were called the "black ships". You may have heard of that. Perry came back a year later, signed a treaty, and japan opened up.

So this maille armor if it did exist could really only have existed for about 200 years from the start of the seclusion when firearms were banned and japan had knowledge of european maille till the end of it when firearms returned. Hope that helps.

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:03 pm
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DaegonPhyn wrote:
Quote:
a full suit of chain armor from hood to shoes weighed around 20 lbs, and could be easily carried as compared to iron plate armor which was at least twice as heavy, and very bulky, harder to transport and much more expensive and time consuming to produce...


I doubt that maille armor would weigh 20 lbs hood to shoe. If those suits you've shown are that light, are they actually made of steel? That seems a bit surprising to me. But I could be wrong.

And I apparently didn't see, but those closer pictures help. All kusari seem to have european 4-in-1 rather than a japanese weave style. And I'll accept that that could have been transmitted from the europeans, but, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't butted european 4-in-1 fairly weak in comparison to butted japanese maille styles. The japanese could have used european maille because it's easier to construct, but I feel it would have been ornamental more than actual used armor and would have been uncommon. Not common as american samurai is suggesting.
DaegonPhyn, around 20 lbs..as I said..but you have to take into account that a Japanese man in the 1700s to 1800s probably weighed around 100lbs so 20lbs would be one fifth of his weight...then add a lot more weight for any weapons, a gourd full of water, a container of rice, and any other personal effects and the average man would have been carrying quite a load..If you read my original article I mentioned nambam kusari or foreign kusari, well I have never seen what are Catweazle called Japanese 4 in 1 weave used on any Japanese armor ever and I would like to see a picture of any actually being used so were does your comparison of the relative strengths of the two weaves you mentioned come from???? I have NEVER seen anyone actually test any real authentic Japanese chain for strength or composition ..in fact in another forum I did offer to contribute a sample of kusari to be analyzed but no one took me up on the offer....people would rather be skeptics than actually learn something new. Since you guys are more familiar with the different chain weaves and patterns than I am you can see that in all the examples I have shown, the same pattern is used, sometimes the connecting rings are flattened and wound several times and sometimes the rings are left round but it is the same basic pattern. I have NEVER seen any Japanese chain that was not butted, I can not say it does not exist but have not seen it or heard of it. DaegonPhyn. " but I feel it would have been ornamental more than actual used armor and would have been uncommon". Come on now!!! Coif LoL Do you see how many different types and styles I have shown,..".ORNAMENTAL"...when the Japanese wanted to make something...ornamental it looked ornamental..you did not have to guess if it was ornamental. I hope this is not a case of..what you dont understand you dismiss.....click on this link and scroll down about 7 frames and read the story on chain armor http://forums.samurai-archives.com/viewtopic.php?p=7028 and check out this link http://forums.samurai-archives.com/viewtopic.php?t=1393&highlight=ronin+chain+mail How can you say it was "uncommon" do you see how many pieces I have?? and I am just 1 person, I see kusari armor for sale all the time, its not uncommon at all actually.

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:20 pm
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DaegonPhyn wrote:
But if the maille is so flimsy there's not much point to it. Which is why I think the pieces that do exist were purely ornamental and shouldn't really be considered armor. And the mix of european and japanese 4-in-1 is only because the europeans traded with the japanese around the 1500s which brought in their maille style. The two styles are actually very different if you consider them.

Oh and Dinwar...here's a simple history of european-japanese relations.
Around the late 1400s and early 1500s specifically Portuguese traders began trading with Japan. They brought in firearms. Some years later other european nations began trading in japan as well. Soon after in the 1600s the shogunate took power and thought that the european traders signaled an invasion. There was a large rebellion by converted japanese christians in 1637. The rebellion and the shogunates wariness led to japan being secluded. Only traders from the netherlands and china were allowed and in very few locations. That was also when firearms were banned. This lasted till 1853 when Commodore Perry took four warships straight into Edo harbor. Those ships were called the "black ships". You may have heard of that. Perry came back a year later, signed a treaty, and japan opened up.

So this maille armor if it did exist could really only have existed for about 200 years from the start of the seclusion when firearms were banned and japan had knowledge of european maille till the end of it when firearms returned. Hope that helps.
DaegonPhyn..Japanese chain armor was not "flimsy" as you call it, the Japanese did not use cross bows or maces or battle axe etc, the Japanese armor was built around the weapons it needed to defend against and remember....whoever was wearing it was armed with a weapon also...it was not like you were going to walk right up to someone unopposed. The Japanese were not stupid and they did not waste valuable resources on something that did not work, the chain armor was made and worn by people of the time for a reason, and in your reading did you see any were that the Japanese actually were given or purchased chain from the Europeans..or are you suggesting that they just copied it, and do you have any evidence that the Japanese did not use chain armor before the Europeans came to Japan??? If you do the math...from the 1400s to the 1870s when the samurai era completely ended was how long??? My math says around... ..400yrs!!!!

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:26 pm
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"...well I have never seen what are Catweazle called Japanese 4 in 1 weave used on any Japanese armor ever..."

AS, when we use the terms "european" and "japanese", they are tools for us to use within our community to describe connection types to other people within the community, not pure historical reference.

the image in your first post shows what we describe as "japanese" and "european" connection types. some of the confusion in this thread, imo, comes from people using the same word to communicate different meanings.

"japanese" can mean a reference to a specific culture, or it can be a way in which rings interact with each other, independant of the culture referenced by the moniker. i know this is confusing to someone who is not a maille geek... that is our own fault as a community, but i don't think that it is realistic to try to change the system that we use..

kim


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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:35 pm
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I just wanted to say that the response I have received here was exactly what I was looking for, I do not consider it to be heated at all, everyone here seems to be intelligent and able to discuss something controversial with out getting angry...thats something rare these days. I did not want anyone to just accept anything I have said here...I would rather see a nice friendly intelligent debate than for people to just blindly accept just anything as the truth. I think at this point most people here will agree on one thing....that the Japanese did posses chain armor. How much and to what degree it was used and how it was used and who used it may be challenged and I accept that, but for whatever reason and however they acquired it the Japanese did in fact have access to chain armor. Not just chain used in conjunction with traditional but actual chain armor......DOES ANYONE HERE STILL THINK OTHERWISE??? I would really like to know!!!

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:50 pm
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american samurai-all of those links go to japanese articles. I can't read japanese. And the picture of the black cloth and black maille armor does actually look ornamental. The other picture isn't good enough quality to see much. I do agree at this point that the japanese had european 4-in-1 full suits and I do agree the japanese don't make many things to be only ornamental. But I still think these suits were not as common as you are suggesting.

The reason that I say european 4-in-1 is weaker butted than japanese 4-in-1 butted is because the way japanese type maille is close prevents even butted maille from opening...which is not true for the european. That's sort of obvious by looking at it.

Do you know what metal the maille is made from? Because for a full suit to be 20 lbs the metal must be extremely light. And if it's that light the strength is questionable. Considering that katanas and other pointy sharp weapons were the standard in japan, such open maille would be a hinder to both the attacker and defender. It would defend against it, but possibly get caught in the maille, which wouldn't be fun for either side. And considering katanas are fairly strong, it is possible that it would break through such a light maille, especially if it's butted. I could of course be wrong. A lot of this is just speculation.

As for the time span, I cut down the span to 200 years, because during the first 200 years the europeans brought firearms to japan and they were widely used at that time. Maille is useless against firearms and I don't think it would have been used for that time. Once again I could be wrong.

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:01 pm
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sakredchao wrote:
"...well I have never seen what are Catweazle called Japanese 4 in 1 weave used on any Japanese armor ever..."

AS, when we use the terms "european" and "japanese", they are tools for us to use within our community to describe connection types to other people within the community, not pure historical reference.

the image in your first post shows what we describe as "japanese" and "european" connection types. some of the confusion in this thread, imo, comes from people using the same word to communicate different meanings.

"japanese" can mean a reference to a specific culture, or it can be a way in which rings interact with each other, independant of the culture referenced by the moniker. i know this is confusing to someone who is not a maille geek... that is our own fault as a community, but i don't think that it is realistic to try to change the system that we use..

kim
Sakredchao, maybe I am confused but Catweazle posted this picture and called it "Japanese weave", can you show me which picture that I posted that has the same weave?
Now read this... http://artofchainmail.com/patterns/japanese/hitoye_gusari.html it looks just like the rings on the pictures I have posted and on this site it is being called "historical Japanese pattern"???? and this statement> "The most common pattern seen in Japanese mail is so gusari, made by connecting one link to four others, in a square pattern. This pattern is rarely seen alone, nearly always being used to connect square plates to one another. Other patterns with plate include linking oval plates to one another, or even octagonal plates.

These square patterns are typical for large expanses of coverage, such as the skirtlike kusazuri which covered the thighs. The nakagawa, or back and breast coverings, were also sometimes made in this manner.

Seiro gusari is a variant of the so gusari, consisting of the same patterns, but using links of two or more turns, not unlike the modern "keychain" split ring fastener. Seiro gusari is less common, as it took far more effort to produce. However, as the multiple turns gave the mail greater strength, it was more commonly used in areas such as the wrist and forearm pieces (tsutso gote, shino gote, and oda gote) to provide extra protection without sacrificing flexibility. It did, however, weigh more than the normal so gusari". < http://www.caradoc.org/~iain/gusari.html now here is the 2 patterns discribed..
So if both these patterns are Japanese patterns were is the European pattern???

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Posted on Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:04 pm
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MusicMan wrote:
It is really interesting that Am.Sa. showed us pictures of full suits that used what we call "European 4-1", but if you look at some of the other pictures that he posted in the original post there are also examples of what we would call "Japanese 4-1."

This just gets me thinking about the true origins of maille and if there isn't a common ancestry to both "families."


The japanese 4 in 1 on Am.Sa.'s pictures are used to connect plates.
(100_3389.jpg, 100_3368.jpg)
He has also pictures of a mail shirt in a jap 4 in1 weave which is sewn between clothes (100_6085.jpg).

If the chain mail is sewn to sheets of clothes, than the chain mail has not to be made of riveted or welded rings. The clothes will compensate a good part of the different forces which come up during movement and combat. The chain mail has only to stand up against the forces of the weapons.

DaegonPhyn wrote:
Around the late 1400s and early 1500s specifically Portuguese traders began trading with Japan. They brought in firearms. Some years later other european nations began trading in japan as well. Soon after in the 1600s the shogunate took power and thought that the european traders signaled an invasion. There was a large rebellion by converted japanese christians in 1637. The rebellion and the shogunates wariness led to japan being secluded. Only traders from the netherlands and china were allowed and in very few locations. That was also when firearms were banned. This lasted till 1853 when Commodore Perry took four warships straight into Edo harbor.


The japanese used chain armour before the europeans came to Japan, but it was their own weave (jap 4 in 1). Qutoe from "An introduction to Japanese Armour": "Another technique that was succesfully used for inexpensive armours was to make it from small iron plates, either rectangular or hexagonal, linked by mail, kusari, and sewn onto a fabric backing. This construction could be modelled into both do maru or haramaki styles. ..." This text refers to changes in armour due to the start of a civil war in the 1460's.
When Europe traded with Japan they also brought the european chain mail to Japan. The european 4 in 1 is easier to produce than the japanese. You need only one ring size (which is also possible for jap. armour) and you don't have to flaten the rings. In my opinion it is also faster to weave.

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