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History of the Samurai

             The samurai (bushi) were the military class of ancient and pre-modern Japan, the Japanese equivalent of medieval knights in England. The samurai had a major influence in the development of Shogun Japan; in order to understand this, the following should be known about the samurai. These warriors typically wore the kimono in their everyday life, and wore loincloth beneath their unique elaborate armour. Military training mainly consisted of firing arrows on horseback and sword fighting. The role of the samurai was to obey and protect their daimyo/lord. They followed the seven principles of the Bushido code. Unlike the English knights, their life was mostly about philosophy and loyalty. .
             What did they wear?.
             Samurai wore interesting clothing. The hakama was the traditional samurai pants used by samurai horsemen to protect the legs (Little Star Enterprises Inc. n.d). Anyways, the samurai wore the kimono most of the time; however the hitatare style of clothing and loincloth became popular as well. The kimono was a matt fabric robe for everyday life. The loincloth (fundoshi) was often worn under kimono or armour as an underwear (The Samurai Archives 2001). The hitatare style of dress was popular especially between the 12th and 17th centuries for samurai to wear under armour and was also used as ninja clothing (Little Star Enterprises Inc. n.d). The quality of the clothing someone wore depended heavily on their wealth/class.
             Samurai armour developed massively over time and was influenced by the ancient Chinese armour. The armour can be categorised by their construction in three groups: scale, lamellar and full-plate armours. Ancient armours were made using scales and lamellae and adapted from the Chinese. Boris Bedrosov (2007) explains where the earliest information about the ancient Japanese armours came from, "The earliest information about Japanese armour can be found in the ancient chronicles Kojiki and Nihongi, both written in the first quarter of the 8th century.

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