Yoroi (japanese armour) are fascinating, no doubt! The plating is mostly done in a very delicate manner, yet offers the needed protection and maximum mobility.
Classical schools of the arts of war (Koryū-bujutsu) have been designed for the battlefield. That of course included combat as a geared-up warrior. In the course of time, numerous schools changed and adapted to new requirements. Therefore, parts of the respective curriculum were modified, emphasized or sometimes even simply cancelled.
As such Ryūha are inherently based on principles ( and not on hundreds of different techniques), it doesn’t matter much if these principles are studied in civilian clothing, in Bogu (sparring armour) or in Yoroi.
About combat in full armour I have already written extensively here:
Today I would like to talk about an acquisition the Shichiseikai Keikojō Basel undertook, the only licensed and authentic representative branch of Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō in Switzerland.
Two weeks ago, two of these beautiful sets of armour arrived. Both are identical and fashioned in the Tosei-gusoku style. The conduct of warfare in Japan changed considerably from the mid of the 16th century onward and this kind of armour has been developed in that time. It was possible now to manufacture the extremely expensive early Yoroi in a more economical way and hence to equip larger combat units with them.
This style of armour was in use (or partial use) throughout the Edo period up the end of the Bakumatsu era in the mid of the 19th century.
The main feature is the Nimai-Dō (two-piece torso armour). It is customized with the Gessei-mon (the crest of the Chiba family and the Hokushin Ittō-ryū). The same crest in a slightly modified style can also be found as decoration (Maedate) on the Kabuto.
Some identical sets of armour have been ordered as well by the Honbu-Dōjō.
The 7th Sōke of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō, Ōtsuka Ryūnosuke, worked closely with the manufacturer in order to create an authentic and fit for use Yoroi.
All parts show extraordinary precision as well as historical accuracy and the artisan craftsmanship is evident!
Surely, these Yoroi are not used simply as ornament. As the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō maintains a Katchū-bujutsu curriculum (armoured combat), which includes the correct way of wearing such armour and of course to impart the fighting principles, you can bet they will see action pretty soon!
Manufacturer of these sets is Iron Mountain Armory