Post by Dave Thatcher on Dec 29, 2012 11:08:49 GMT
THE MANUFACTURE OF ARMOUR & HELMETS IN 16th CENTURY JAPAN KOZAN Sakakibara (1963) This translation of Kozan's original 1800 text covers the evolution of armor while looking to what it defines as best examples. From the start the author cites current samurai as in a deplorable state lacking essential martial temperament and knowledge. The author's detailed descriptions of the making of the various parts of an armor and his authoritative criticism of the many different styles being used in his time make this a first-hand account of unequaled importance; well supported by 41 illustrations and 34 plates. 156 pages, 7¼ x 10" hardcover -----------------------------------
This was the first book I ever purchased on armour, back then I was at school and it was expensive. As a starter book it's a little in-depth, but without doubt an excellent resource for any student. Over the years I've found myself returning over and over to it's pages.
The book is now out of print, but can be obtained from specialist sellers such as Alan Bale or Satcho online. Expect to pay around $200 upwards.
Can I just warn you that some of the information in Kozan's original book has been misunderstood in this translation. Remember it was produced in the 1960's when knowledge was not as freely available as it is today. This is not in any way a criticism of H. Russell Robinson. Russell was the first Oriental Curator at the Tower of London and it was he who led the revival of interest in Japanese armour after the war. It was he who fought to retrieve the oriental items from the collection that had been disposed off by a curator called ffoukes about 1910. Unfortunately Russell did not speak Japanese and relied on an old translation that had been revised by Inada of Koop and Inada fame. It went particularly wrong in the section on helmets. Kozan's discussion on early bowls with the large hollow rivets is a good example. These are described as kara boshi bachi or o boshi bachi but the term became confused with the almost hemispherical shape of the bowl itself. This has led to some very strange descriptions ever since. I will quote one example that occurs in a catalogue: o-boshi hoshi kabuto - which actually translates as 'Large rivet rivet helmet' Ian Bottomley
Thank god I never read the kabuto section. Kabuto is out of my remit, and they make me glaze over somewhat. I've been looking at the sangu and do section. Maybe I'm odd, as at times I'd admire a cracking do over a helmet any day.
Jo, Honcho-Gunkiko is really a collection of literary references to armour. Arai Hakoseki was a scholar and administrator rather than a military person and he was interested more in the arms and armour preserved in shrines and their mention in literary works. Ian Bottomley