Note: This glossary is an ongoing work. I have used glossaries from anthony J. Bryant, Ian bottomley, and sasama yoshihiko. Any inaccuracies are my own. A glossary of european armour terms will be added as time allows.
|Abumi zuri no kawa:||Leather patch on the inside of tosei suneate to prevent chafing of the stirrup leathers.|
|Aibiki:||Shoulder strap fastenings of a tosei do.|
|Agemaki:||Bow of silk cord tied in a special shape (lover’s knot) hung from rings on armour - an especially large one was hung on the back as part of the O-sode attachments.|
|Ago no o benri:||Protruding studs on chin of menpo to prevent the helmet cords from slipping forward.|
|Akoda nari bachi:||(Gourd shaped bowl)Style of helmet that developed during the Muromachi period which is distinctly swollen at the back and normally without prominent rivets.|
|Aoiba za:||Decorated iron plate surrounding the tehen of a Heian period helmet bowl.|
|Arare boshi bachi:||Term used to describe a helmet bowl made or decorated with large, exaggerated rivets.|
|Ashinagare||—Literally "wandering legs." This is what you don't want with the plates in your helmet bowl. They should be even and straight.|
|Bishamon gote:||Armoured sleeves having an integeral small sode covering the upper arm.|
|Boko no ita:||(also see oshitsuke no ita) Top plate at the back of a tosei do to which the watagami are riveted.|
|Byakudan nuri:||Transparent lacquer of a golden yellow colour.|
|Byo kakari do:||See byo toji yokohagi okegawa do.|
|Byo toji yokohagi okegawa do:||
Tosei do of horizontal plates fastened by prominent , often decorated rivets.
|Chikara gawa||— A strip of leather on the haidate to strengthen the fabric and lend support the armoured section.|
|Chirimen namban gusari:||European-type mail made with small, densely packed links.|
|Chochin bachi:||Helmet bowl that collapses flat for storage.|
|Daienzan bachi:||Helmet bowl having more or less a hemispherical shape.|
|Daimyo:||Term applied to holders of considerable area of land - formalized during the Edo period to those with incomes above 10,000 koku per year.|
|Daisho:||A pair of swords having matching mounts, normally a katana and wakizashi combination.|
|Dangae Dou:||Tosei dou in which different styles of lacing are used in the upper and lower sections.|
|Datemono||— Helmet crest (generic term)|
|Dou:||Armour for the body|
— A cuirass of scale construction which wrapped around the body and tied closed under the right arm.
|Ebira:||Open quiver used in the Heian and Kamakura periods.|
|Eboshi:||Tall cap of variable shape often curving rearwards at the top.|
|Eboshi nari kabuto:||Helmet shaped to resemble an eboshi.|
|Egawa:||Leather decorated with pictorial designs.|
|Eriwa||— See guruwa.|
|Etchu haidate:||Haidate covered with only a sparse grid of mail and splints.|
|Etchu jikoro:||Tosei neck guard falling in a concave curve and terminating in a bottom plate which has a straight line.|
|Etchu suneate:||Splint shin guards without fabric backing.|
|Etchu zunari bachi:||Helmet bowl of simple construction having a longitudinal top plate overlapping the brow plate.|
|Fukigaeshi:||The turnbacks at the front edge of the upper row or rows of a neck guard.|
|Fukigaeshi no suemon:||Chysanthemum-shaped ornaments applied to the fukigaeshi of Heian period helmets.|
|Fujiwara iro:||A pale lilac colour.|
|Fukube:||Gourd-shaped plate applied to armoured sleeves.|
|Fukurin:||Applied metal rim.|
— A complex locking stitch that attaches the koberi to the egawa. Cheaper armours often just glue down multi-colored braid on the seam.
|Fusube gawa:||Smoked leather having a yellow or brown colour.|
|Gattari:||Attachment for a sashimono fastened at the back of dou at the level of the shoulder blades.|
|Gessan:||Pendant armoured sections attached to the lower edge of a tosei do.|
|Gessan jikoro:||Tosei shikoro having all but the uppermost plate divided into sections.|
|Go-mai dô||— A five-sectional armour, with four hinges.|
|Goishi gashira:||Iyozane scales with heads of a rounded shape.|
|Gose gawa:||Red leather decorated with groups of white spots.|
|Goshozan:||High-sided helmet having the back higher than the front.|
|Gumabi uchiwa:||A non-folding variety of war fan.|
|Gumi wa:||Leather loop fitted with an elongated metal bead on the shoulder strap of an armour to which the shoulder guards are tied.|
|Gunsen:||Folding war fan.|
— A type of gorget made of standing plates that protect the neck, and a bib.
A complete armour.
Box for the storage and transport of an armour.
— Robe worn under armour.
|Gyoyo:||Leaf-shaped plate used as shoulder protector or to guard the fastenings of the shoulder straps.|
|Hachi:||The bowl of a helmet.|
|Hachiman kuro:||A very dark blue-black colour used for armour lacing during the Edo period.|
|Hachiman-za||— A virtual synonym of tehen; this is the ornamental fitting around the hole.|
|Hachitsuke-no-ita||— The top lame of a shikoro, the one that attaches to the koshimaki.|
|Haidate:||Defence for the thighs shaped like a divided apron.|
|Hanagami bukuro:||Pouch attached to the front of a dou or behind one of the gessan.|
|Hana gata shobu gawa:||
Blue leather with naturalistically depicted iris flowers and leaves.
|Hana ni cho gawa:||Leather decorated with flowers and butterflies.|
|Hanbô||— Literally "half cheek"; a menpô made without a nose.|
|Happuri||— A head protector that guards the forehead and cheeks.|
|Hara ate:||Abbreviated armour covering the front and sides of the body only. (also see maekake dô).|
|Haraidate:||Tubular crest holder attached centrally to the peak of a helmet.|
|Haramaki:||Armour worn during the Heian and Kamakura periods which wrapped around the body and fastened under the right arm. From the Muromachi period, the term refers to an armour opening down the centre line at the back.|
|Haribachi||— A helmet bowl with flat plates and no ribs or protruding rivets.|
|Harikake bachi:||A helmet bowl decorated and embellished by a light decorative superstructure of wood, paper, leather and lacquer.|
|Hasso byo:||A soft-metal rivet with an ornamented head. Often holding kanagu mawari to the armour.|
|Hassô gane||— Large ornamental seat-plate for the hassô byô.|
Dou having a medial ridge.
|Heichozan:||High-sided helmet shape which is flat on top.|
|Hi:||A groove in a blade. Alternatively, the term refers to the colour vermilion.|
|Hibiki no ana:||Name of the four holes on some multiplate helmets below the shiten-no-byô. Holes in a helmet bowl originally for attaching a helmet cord but later decorative.|
|Hijigane||— Elbow plate|
|Hiji gane:||Elbow plate of an armoured sleeve.|
|Hikone gusoku:||Red lacquered armour.|
|Hineno jikoro:||Close-fitting neck guard having a lower edge which is shaped to the shoulders.|
|Hineno zunari bachi:||Helmet bowl of simplified construction having a central longitudinal plate which is overlaid by a brow plate/peak combination.|
|Hirazane:||A term which came about to differentiate conventional scales from moriage zane.|
|Hiro sode:||Shoulder guard which widens and flatten towards the bottom.|
|Hishinui-no-ita||— Bottom-most plate of a series. So named because it is often ornamented by a double row of crosslaces.|
|Hishi toji:||A cross-knot other than on the hishinui no ita.|
|Hishinui toji dou:||A variety of yokohagi okegawa doi in which the plates are connected by cross-knots.|
|Hishinui toji hotoke dou:||A smooth faced dou decorated by cross-knots.|
|Hitai ate: (also Hitaigane )||— A metal plate that protects the forehead; usually attached to a headcloth. Late form of happuri worn in place of a helmet.|
|Hiza yoroi:||Old term for armour covering the thigh and knee.|
|Hoate:||A mask covering the chin and cheeks only. See hanbô.|
|Hodo haidate:||Haidate having the lower part of the armoured portion divided into pendant sections.|
|Hon kozane:||True scales.|
|Horimono:||Carved decoration on a blade.|
Cape-like cloth attached to the back of an armour which inflated with air when riding.
|Hoshi bachi:||A helmet bowl with prominent rivets.|
|Hotoke dou:||A smooth faced dou.|
|Hyotan gane:||Gourd-shaped plate forming part of a kote.|
|Ichi mai fuse bachi:||Heian period helmet bowl beaten from a single plate.|
|Ichi-no-ita||— First plate, the first in a series of lames. Following it are the ni-, san-, yon-, go-, roku-, shichi-no-ita, etc.|
|Ichimai maze:||Alteration of iron and leather scales along a row.|
|Ichimanju jikoro:||Neck guard having only the top plate curve.|
— Foundation fabric.
|Igaki:||Ornamental plates around the base of a helmet bowl.|
Small rectangular plates set in mail.
|Ikada haidate:||Mail haidate with scattered ikada.|
|Iro gawa:||Self-coloured leather.|
|Iro iro odoshi:||Multi-coloured lacing.|
|Ishime:||Irregular rough texture like the surface of stone.|
|Ita mono||— Armour sections or lames of solid plate rather than scale construction.|
|Ite jikoro:||Tosei shikoro in which the right fukigaeshi can be removed or folded back for archery.|
|Ito odoshi||— Ribbon/twill used as lacing.|
|Iyozane:||Type of scale assembled with almost no overlap.|
|Iyozane dou:||Tosei dou of iyozane wrapping around the body and fastenting under the right arm.|
Ornament of gilt or silvered plate overlaid by shinodare applied to a helmet bow.
Surcoat worn over armour.
Conical open hat or iron or lacqured leather worn as light defence.
A parrying bar carried by police during the Edo period.
Method of forging armour plate with a cross grain.
Type of spear head having a central blade with side blades at the base.
— See nagagawa dô.
|Kabuto no o:||
The tying cord of a helmet.
Suneate without knee guards.
An oval link connecting the circular links of mail.
The front tying cord of a sode.
— A number of metal plates attached to various parts of the armour. So-called as they were originally the only "solid" metal plates in the armour.
Technique of concentrating iron scales at the valnerable points of an armour.
|Kanmuri no ita:||
Cap plate of a sode or kote.
Large rivet having a hollow head.
Chest used for storing armour.
Scales embossed from the back.
|Karuta gane dou:||
Folding armour of rectangular plates.
wide spreading shikoro, umbrella-like, often almost flat.
|Kasa jirushi no kan:||
Ring at the back of a helmet designed to carry a small identification flag, but on later helmets usually provided with an agemaki bow.
|Katahada nugi dou:||
Type of Nio dou.
Gilt or silvered plate applied between the suji of a helmet bowl as decoration.
Shoulder armour worn with the tanko during the Yamato period.
(Also gusoku-shi) Armourer.
— The upper bracket to hold a sashimono.
Helmet of other than the conventional multi-plate construction.
Haidate of S-sectioned scales overlapping like roof tiles.
Leather thong incoporated in the lacing holding scales into a row.
|Kawa zutsumi dou:||
Dou covered with a sheet of leather.
|Kedate no ana:||
Lacing holding the rows of scales together.
— Fur boots worn by generals.
Early scale armour worn c. 6th-8th centuries. It was inspired by continental models and was the forerunner of the ô-yoroi and dô maru.
Collar decorated with a silk frill in imitation of a European ruff.
|Kesho no ita:||
Leather covered wood strip covering the heads of the scales where they afix to a metal plate.
— Literally "tortoise-shell", for the hexagonal pattern; Japanese brigandine.
|Kikko gane dou:||
A folding dou made from hexagonal plates.
— Pseudo-scale; a term to identify lames cut (and often built up with lacquer or other material) to imitate scale construction.
|Kiwane fuda:||Certificate attributing the authorship of armour to a particular maker.|
Abbreviated trousers worn under a tosei armour.
Thigh armour sewn onto a pair of trousers.
— Edge leather often bordering egawa.
|Ko boshi bachi:||
Helmet bowl with small standing rivets.
Decorative plate and ring combination attached to the rear edge of a shoulder guard to which the rear-most tying cord was fastened.
— Armoured tabi.
— Literally "small armour"; refers to the "other" pieces of a suit of armour, namely the kote, sode, suneate, haidate, menpô, and nodow.
— Frog; loop and toggle.
— Winglets — like small pauldrons, they protect the top of the shoulder. Worn instead of sode. Often made of Kikko.
— A shikoro where all the lames together pronounce a gentle down-and-outward curve.
Intermediate band of leather connecting a row of scales or a plate to some other part of an armour.
Dark blue or green printed leather with an allover pattern of small flowers.
High-sided helmet, usually flat topped, which is taller than a hemisphere.
Variety of mail having recantangular spaces to increase the flexibility.
Strip of metal forming the lower edge of a helmet bowl. — Skirtplate; wraps around the hachi. The shikoro attaches to it.
— Armoured sleeve.
A small scale as opposed to those used during the Heian period.
— Literally "small cherry-blossom"
Top edge of an iyozane cut cut to resemble two kozane.
Dull brown colour.
|Kusari dou maru:||
Mail and plate version of the do maru.
Armoured sleeve of mail.
Thigh armour of mail.
Mail and plate version of the haramaki.
Mail shin guards.
Pendant sections of scales atttached to the lower edge of the dou to cover the thighs. Tassets.
Yokohagi okegawa dou in which the plates are joined by a variety of staples.
Flat, stylized horns worn as a crest.
|Kyubi no ita:||
Defence for left armpit, worn with o yoroi.
(also maebashi) Peak/visor of a helmet.
|Mabizashi tsuki kabuto:||
Ancient style of helmet having a horizontal fretted peak.
Socket at the waist on the back of a dou into which the sashimono assembly is fitted.
Crest attached to the front of a helmet.
— A dô consisting of only the front. Synonymous with haraate.
|Maki e dou:||
A dou decorated with a lacquered design or picture.
European gorget which was adopted by the Japanese. The name is taken from the Portuguese "mantilla."
Short armoured waistcoat worn beneath an armour to protect the armpits and upper chest.
see daizen bachi.
A tosei version of the dou maru, differing from the original versions of the armour in having an extra row of scales in the nakagawa.
|Maru do yoroi:||
Curved plates arranged in a ring around the elbow of an armoured sleeve.
|Mei no ana:||
A slit in the lining of a helmet through which the signature can be read.
— Scales designed for the top row in a series of lames; they have no upper series of holes, and are punched only for suspensory lacing and shitagarami.
|Men gu:||Face armour.|
|Me no shita men (also Mempo) Mempô||
— Mask; face armour that protects the chin, cheeks, nose, and throat. The nose is often removeable.
Braid around the edges of a piece of armour.
|Mitsu kuwagata dai:||
Kuwagata dai with an additional central socket to carry a crest.
— Scales designed to overlap twice.
|Mitsu suji gaki:||
Variant of sugake lacing involving three braids.
Twin piping of red and white twill on O-yoroi set below the lower edge of the kesho no ita.
|Mizu nomai no o:||
Cord attached to the rear edge of a sode.
Dou of horizontal plates, each of which is articulated by seperate hinges.
Pointed helmet inspired by the European morion.
Scales having the outer visible surface built up with lacquer.
Rivets with narrow pointed heads.
Uppermost plate on the front of a dou.
|Muna tori hotoke dou:||
Smooth faced dou with a top section laced.
— The part of the dô that fully encloses the torso; that is, the bottom half as opposed to the tateage. It is a synonym of kabuki dô.
The circular links in Japanese mail which lie horizontal to its surface.
— Old-style hand guard; so named as it is shaped like the head of a catfish (namazu).
|Namazu o kabuto:||
Tall, laterally flattened helmet of rounded profile said to resemble the tail of a catfish.
Surface texture given to ornamental metalwork in whihc the gorund is raised into a series of hemispheres.
— Literally "Southern barbarian"; the Period Japanese adjective to refer to anything European, such as a nanban dô, a nanban kabuto, or nanban kusari (European-style mail).
|Nanban gusari:||International style mail in which each link is meshed with four others.|
|Nawame fukurin:||Applied metal edging shaped to resemble a rope.|
|Nawame odoshi||— The row of diagonal lacing in kebiki odoshi.|
|Ni mai dou:||
Dou in two parts joined by a hinge under the the left arm.
|Nioi:||Lacing pattern in shades of one colour fading to white at the bottom.|
Bib-like defence for the throat and upper chest consisting of a U-shaped plate with two or three curved rows of scales attached to it.
Sugake laced ni-mai dou made of iyozane.
Overlay of gold, silver or copper on iron.
Belt or sash.
Rivet having a large head.
Kote having gourd-shaped plates applied to the forearm and upper arm.
Haidate of mail with ikada and knee plates resembling those at the elbow of oda gote.
— Helmet crest holder.
Armour issued to a low-ranking soldier.
— (literally “tub-sided”) Common two-sectional clamshell armour of rivetted lame construction.
A signature applied by another as a mark of respect.
|Oku tenugui bachi:||
A helmet bowl with almost vertical sides and top plates which are extended rearwards beyond the back of the bowl.
|O manju jikoro:||
A neck guard of large, rounded sections.
|Omote kaku kuri:||
Rivets closed on the outside, leaving them only slightly proud of the surface.
The uppermost plate on the front of a tosei dou.
A hook on the cheek of a mask around which the helmet cord is fastened.
The uppermost plate on the back of a scale armour to which the shoulder straps are attached. Part of the kanagu mawari.
Large rectangular sode.
|O tateage suneate:||
Shin guards having large standing plate defences for the knees.
Armour having a seperate defence for the right side of the body - classic armour of the Heian period.
see akoda nari bachi.
A tosei dou fitted with internal suspensory cords.
|Roku mai dou:||
A tosei dou having five hinges that is divisible into six sections.
|Ryo takahimo dou:||(also ryo awase dou) A tosei dou in either two or six sections with ties at each side of the body.|
A lacquered surface imitating rusty iron.
A commander's baton hung with a tassel of hair or paper.
|Saihai no kan:||
A ring on the right breast of a tosei dou.
A type of multiplate helmet made in Saika.
Plate at the back of an o yoroi laced in reverse to allow the shoulder straps to be swung backwards.
Member of the warrior class.
|Sanko no byo:||
Domed-headed rivets attaching the peak to the bowl of a helmet.
Leather or braid edging around the fabric portion of an armour.
A pair of kote forming part of a short jacket.
A flag or other device worn attached to the back of an armour.
Hard silver alloy used as decoration on russet iron in the form of partially diffused droplets.
Optional back plate worn over the opening of a haramaki. Also called a coward's plate.
A variety of mail in which the oval links are of two or three turns of wire.
A double-holed bead sliding on a loop of cord to close it over a toggle.
Alternative name for a yukinoshita dou.
|Sendan no ita:||
Guard resembling a miniature sode.for the right armpit worn with an o yoroi.
A variety of brass.
Alloy of copper and gold, patinating to a purple-black colour.
An alloy of copper and silver, patinating to a grey colour.
Helmet decorated with four groups of shinodare.
A strip of iron laced behind a leather plate to maintain its shape.
(also Mitsume gane) Scale having three columns of holes.
Neck guard of a helmet.
A splint reminiscent of bamboo leaves. (possible source of bamboo armour myth)
— Helmet cord.
An ornamental strip emerging from the tehen kanamono and extending down the front, sides or back of a helmet bowl.
Kote having splints as defence for the forearm.
Haidate armoured with splints connected by mail.
Shin guards of splints connected by mail.
Sunk relief carving.
|Shishi ko sakura gawa:||
Printed leather decorated with Chinese lions and foliage.
— Lacing to secure scales horizontally into boards.
Shirt-like garment worn under armour.
see hara ate.
Auxilliary neck guard fittted below the regualr one.
Leather lacing fastening the scales into a row.
|Shita toji no ana:||
Lower group of eight holes in a scale.
|Shiten no byo:||
Vestigial rivets applied as decoration to helmets.
Pleated, gourd-shaped plated used for oda gote.
|Shizuka no o:||
Leather tie used to attach an o sode to the rear loop on the watagami.
A popular pattern of koberi. It's so popular that koberi is sometimes called shobugawa. Dark blue leather decorated with irises and leaves.
Variety of shishi ko sakura gawa incoporating the date 1352.
|Shoji no ita:||
A standing plate of rounded outline fastened to the upper surface of a watagami.
|Sode tsuke no o:||
Fastening cord of a shoulder guard.
Mail in which each circular link is connected to four others - the normal Japanese construction.
— Full mask; like a menpô but also protects the forehead.
Lacing techinque in which pairs of laces are threaded vertically up the row of scales to lighten the armour.
|Sugi shobu gawa:||
Debased variety of shobu gawa.
Rib or flange.
Multi-plate helmet in which the rivets are countersunk leaving the flanged edges of the plates prominent.
Shaded colour lacing growing lighter towards the top.
Literally "standing cuirass"; another name for tôsei dô which refers to their rigidity and ability to stand up unsupported rather than collapse as did older style cuirasses.
The fastenings of the shoulder straps on a scale armour. Alternatively, the fastenings of the opening of a tosei dou.
Braid patterned with chevrons.
Multi-coloured braid of white, green, purple and dark blue.
Armour showing the marks of bullets used to test its defensive quality.
: Early plate armour of the Yamoto period.
|Tasuki ni shishi no maru e gawa:||
Printed leather with a design of Chinese lions in a diagonal lattice of foliage.
The term for various parts of armour that jut up from others, including the knee guards of suneate and the upper plates on a dou.
Armoured collar usually made of Kikko.
— Older lacing style in which the suspensory braid passing through the next lame ran vertically rather than executing a diagonal. It was replaced by nawame garami.
|Tate hagi okegawa dou:||
Tosei dou made of vertical plates.
The hole in the crown of a helmet bowl.
Ornamental fitting around the tehen.
A plate forming part of a kote which covers the back of the hand.
High-sided helmet whose top dips in the region of the tehen.
— A popular type of egawa in the 16th century. Named for the Tenpyô Era.
|Tenugui no kan:||
Ring on the left breast of a tosei dou. (Note a pair of these is an Edo period affectation. Some older armours were retrofitted with them).
— A type of kote with an extended upper section; the left and right kote might actually meet and close together.
|Tominaga sashinuki gote:||
Kote attached to a short jacket having an armoured collar.
Printed leather decorated with dragon flies.
A 'modern" dou, that is those evolved during the sixteenth century.
Small sode hanging from the fastenings of the kote.
Plate forming the upper part of a waidate.
A sode curved to the arm and narrowing towards the bottom.
|Tsume gata gawa:||
Dark blue leather decorated with white truncated triangular shapes.
|Tsunomoto:||Hook or spiked form of crest attachment|
Leather sheet covering the front of an o yoroi which prevented the bow string from snagging on the heads of the scales.
||A kote having the plates over the fore arm hinged or sewn together.|
Shin guards of three or more plates hinged or sewn together.
Tosei dou decorated by embossing.
Lining, be it helmet or cuirass.
— The receiving cup for the base of the sashimono pole.
Large heraldic emblem or ensign.
Lacing in which a length of braid is threaded in and out of a straight row of holes.
|Uname toji dou:||
Tosei dou in which the plates are fastened together by uname toji.
Crest fitted to the back of a helmet.
Outer sash or belt.
Brown leather decorated with white and black spots.
Piece of armour forming the upper edge of the nakagawa under the arms.
Plates attached to the upper edge of the nakagawa under the arms. Part of the kanagu mawari which protects the armpit.
Crests fitted to the sides of a helmet.
Shoulder straps of an armour.
Standing flanges on the cheeks of a mask.
|Ya hazu gashira:||
Type of iyozane having the upper edges notched.
Literally "dribble hang"; the bib of lames that protects the neck and throat attached to the lower edge of a mask.
|Yokohagi okegawa dou:||
Tosei dou made from horizontal plates.
— Armour; old term. Generally used to refer to older armours.
Costume of brocade worn under armour.
Glossy finishing lacquer.
— A type of kote so named because the great Minamoto no Yoshitsune wore kote like them. (As did everyone else before 1300.)
— Scales designed for the top row in a series of lames; they are flat, with all the holes punched.
A variety of plate go mai dou with external hinges.
Lacing attaching the kusazuri or gessan to the dou.
Prominent rivet head fitted with a washer cut with radiating lines.
High-sided helmet higher in the front than the back.
|Zukin nari kabuto:||
A variety of oki tenugui helmet.
Literally "head-shaped"; a type of helmet style including the so-called three-plate hineno kabuto. and etchu kabuto.