Tatami Hitaiate Kusari (hitai ate 畳額当) are armor plates, shaped to match the forehead, which are attached to asa (hemp linen) with kusari (Japanese chain mail) sewn over. These plates can collapse into themselves for storage or fold up to create a type of bowl helmet. The tatami hitaiate can be adjusted to fit in different forms. This style of armor started to become popular in the late Muromachi era being developed from Hachigane (Armored Headband). By the end of the Muromachi era and into the Edo Era the plating became more embellished with mabizashi (visor) and embossing of uchimayu (eyebrows and wrinkles). Kusari would often be sewn over the asa for added protection that was flexible. Kikko (hexagonal armor plates) can also be sewn between layers of asa making a stronger but more stiff brigandine style of armor, known as tatami-hitaiate kikko.
This style of tatami samurai armor was more economical than full samurai armor suits, so it grew in popularity amongst samurai clans. During the “peaceful” Edo Era, samurai and their retainers would often use this style of lightweight tatami kabuto (Folding helmet) while patrolling. It was also the common armor used by machi-kata doshin (samurai police officers) while apprehending samurai. It is also believed because of the ability to compact and hide the tatami tatai-ate, it was used by shinobi (ninja).
Iron Mountain Armory has recreated this traditional tatami hitaiate from an original from the early 1600’s. Using steel plating, traditional “Kusari so gusari” style of chain mail, sewn to durable asa , we’ve recreated this historical tatami samurai armor. Our armorers are happy to customize you hitaiate for you, offering different options of asa and kusari colors / textures. We also offer the option to add padding as well as custom sizing. Hitai-ate are perfect for any Budo Martial Artist, SCA, LARP, or anyone wanting to add traditional samurai armor to their modern life and training. If you have any questions, please contact us before placing your order.
- Traditional design and handcrafting.
- Collapsed Size: 15 x 18 x 8 cm
- Optional materials, colors & sizing.
- Optional under padding, can be requested for an extra fee.
Our skilled katchû-shi (armorers) at the Iron Mountain Armory will need at least 2 to 4 weeks, depending on options selected, for the custom handcrafting of your reproduction samurai item.
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