The armors worn by the samurai changed over time, following the developments in weaponry: from the heavy yoroi armors of the Heian Period, to the light protection worn by the last samurai during the end of the Edo Period… Many of these armors were quite strange looking, but by far the strangest armor ever was the one represented in this photo.
Called horo ("cloak") this very unusual protection was used during the Sengoku Period by elite special troops of Oda Nobunaga. The most famous of them, represented in this statue from the Oyama Shrine in Kanagawa, was Maeda Toshiie, the leader of the Aka Horo Shu, “Red Cloak Horsemen".
The armor was in fact a heavy cape placed on a bamboo frame (similar to a crinoline), covering the rider’s back. It was a very innovative armor, light enough not to bother the rider, designed to protect him from the arrows: even if an arrow was piercing the cape, it was slowed down enough to be harmlessly caught in the empty space.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: