Kusari Katabira (Chain Mail Armor Coat) is a style of tatami yoroi or “folding armor” used by Daimyo, samurai warriors, their retainers and ashigaru (foot soldiers) during the feudal Sengoku and peaceful Edo era of Japan. Kusari is the term for Japanese chain mail, in which there were several varieties, of which “so gusari” was the most common and the style we use. Katabira is the term used for a hemp garment, often a kimono or “jacket”. The so gusari kusari is sewn onto asa (hemp linen), making a light weight and flexible armor jacket. This samurai jacket features odoshi lacing under the arm and down the side so it can be adjusted for larger body types or if you want to wear it over your samurai armor.
This chain mail armor jacket was often worn under or over clothing. It could also be worn under or over the Do (samurai cuirass). Into the “Peaceful” Edo era, full armor sets became less necessary. Even still, Samurai needed to deal with peasant uprising, clan skirmishes and being attacked on the road. So with the kusari katabira, chain mail jacket, being so light weight and versatile it became an armor of choice for samurai and allegedly shinobi (ninja). As mentioned by Ian Bottomley in his book Arms and Armor of the Samurai: The History of Weaponry in Ancient Japan, machi-kata doshin (samurai police officers) wore kusari armor, some with detachable arms, to be worn as a armored vest of sorts.
Iron Mountain Armory armorers crafted this traditional kusari katabira from an original believed to be from the early 1600’s. We offer the option to order this kusari yoroi as a vest, jacket (as shown), detachable sleeves and kusari gote (chain mail sleeves). The underlying fabric is made from durable asa (hemp linen), which we offer several color options of. The so gusari kusari (traditional Japanese chain mail) can be finished in several color / texture options. We also offer the option to add padding as well as custom sizing. Perfect for any Budo Martial Artist, SCA, LARP, or anyone wanting to add traditional samurai armor to their modern life and training.
- Traditional design and handcrafting.
- Optional materials, colors & sizing.
- Optional under padding, can be requested for an extra fee.
Kusari Katabira crafting –
Our skilled katchû-shi (armorers) at the Iron Mountain Armory will need at least 3 to 5 weeks, depending on options selected, and other scheduled orders, for the custom handcrafting of your yoroi.
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