Japanese armor (yoroi) question and more

by Willie Pierce

1. Do you know much about old Japanese armor creation, or do you know of any good books on say 16-17th century Japanese armor and how to make them?

I want to hand make myself a set of as close to accurate armor as I can. Anything you know or could help me in this would be appreciated. I have looked around on the internet and cannot find many images of true historic armor.

2. Anything dealing with the creation of a Japanese Long Bow would also be appreciated.

3. How free form is kendo at a tournament. Such as, I don't just practice kendo I also practice fencing. If I was to use a fencing move or the like would it be allowed if I got a point.

4. On the similar token do you know of any books that have been translated from scrolls and carvings dealing with the teaching of swordsmanship?   Or for that matter dealing with any aspect of Japanese Life in the 16th-17th centuries. 

When I get everything completed, if you want I'll send pictures. 

Answer: Thank you for your post. I am not expert in making yoroi (Japanese armour) and bows. So my best advice is to contact people who actually practice them.

Yoroi (Japanese armour) Links: Some Japanese websites have English. Surf around and see what you can get out of the sites. You can email them, I do not know if they are fluent in English, asking if they know any books about making Japanese armour in English.

I am just providing these links
for your reference. I do not guarantee authenticity and reliability of these websites.

  1. Morisaki

  2. Japan Color

  3. Honjin (mainly photos)

  4. Sengoku Busho Yoroi (Only in Japanese and only photos)

  5. Yoroi seisakusho (only photos)

For kyūdō, you can go to All Japan Kyudo Federation website (English). It has contact info of its affiliates.

About using fencing techniques in kendō. I do not know about fencing much but my guess is that to get a point in fencing you have to hit a target, correct?

In kendō, we have to have ki ken tai icchi and also zanshin after we strike.

You must have a good posture (in this case, good KENDŌ posture). So if you just do fencing moves with a fencing posture (style), you cannot get a point. This is my guess.

Again we are not just fighting. So if you just try to HIT a target, you are not really doing kendō. If you do kendō, you have to learn what kendō is so you can learn many things out of kendō.

About scrolls and stuff: There are some books in amazon.com about kenjutsu. However, I do not know the accuracy of these translations. Besides, I have never read these in English so I cannot give you any reviews on them.

Again, you should ask the main organization such as Yagyū Shinkage-ryū Heihō website.  And ask them if they have information you want in English.

Of course, there is no guarantee that they are capable of writing you back in English.  However, I think it is the best way to get the correct information.

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