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  • Ashigaru Helmet

    For all the innovative advances in Japanese Kabuto design, they seem to have failed horribly with the Ashigaru. For starters, the ashigaru helmets don't even protect the side of the head and or the neck at all, even the the forehead is barely protected. Also this is just a pure guess as I have no idea how strong the ashigaru helmets are but they look so flimsy that a strong enough man with a katana could probably cut through the front of the helmet. Its just really surprising to me because in my opinion out of all East Asian helmet designs the kabuto is one of the best. Yet I would say the Ashigaru helmet is one of the worst out of the commom foot soldiers helmets in East Asia. Anyone have any idea why the Ashigaru helmet is so unprotective.

  • #2
    Yeah totally i mean waht wer they thinking right probably not at all hahahaha kthnxbai

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    • #3
      Originally posted by instant1592 View Post
      Anyone have any idea why the Ashigaru helmet is so unprotective.
      You answered your own question:
      commom foot soldiers helmets

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      • #4
        yeah but even foot soldiers in Europe had much more protective helmets. And for all the warfare in the Sengoku period you'd think they would give some more protection to their soldiers. Its not like in Korea where there was almost no warfare, in Japan it was basically a century of constant war.

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        • #5
          Ashigaru were bottom-rung foot soldiers, usually just farmers with little or no combat training, so they had bottom-rung equipment. They were probably regarded as expendable so their head protection, if they had any, was cheap: tatami-kabuto, single-plate jingasa, even just mail-reinforced hachimaki. The samurai wore the fancy kabuto - the more plates, the more expensive and more important its wearer was. The Evolution of Japanese Armour is a concise illustrated history on the subject - look over the helmet section further down the page.

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          • #6
            The myArmoury.com site is interesting, but it does not have much to say about Jingasa, other than to place them in the sengoku-jidai period:

            The typical ashigaru's helmet was the jingasa, an iron, or (rarely) leather hat with fabric shikoro. It had different shapes and usually was made of a single metal plate.
            I think that if you look at battle statistics from this period, a helmet was probably more for protection from arrows raining down on you, than from sword cuts. This also makes sense if you think from the point of this helmet shape evolving as an adaptation to what was actually taking place on most battlefield. These are just my thoughts.

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            • #7
              Jingasa for you.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by yoda-waza View Post
                Ashigaru were bottom-rung foot soldiers, usually just farmers with little or no combat training, so they had bottom-rung equipment.
                They were probably expected to provide their own equipment too. Something cheap, and could also function as a cooking pot.
                Last edited by Andrew S; 17th April 2009, 05:28 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by instant1592 View Post
                  For all the innovative advances in Japanese Kabuto design, they seem to have failed horribly with the Ashigaru. For starters, the ashigaru helmets don't even protect the side of the head and or the neck at all, even the the forehead is barely protected. Also this is just a pure guess as I have no idea how strong the ashigaru helmets are but they look so flimsy that a strong enough man with a katana could probably cut through the front of the helmet. Its just really surprising to me because in my opinion out of all East Asian helmet designs the kabuto is one of the best. Yet I would say the Ashigaru helmet is one of the worst out of the commom foot soldiers helmets in East Asia. Anyone have any idea why the Ashigaru helmet is so unprotective.

                  Ok here goes, ashigaru as said were low ranking and often less well armed then their more illustrious conterparts.

                  BUT you have to look at how the ashigaru was employed and used. Most ashigaru were armed primary with yari and moved in mass ranks, how a swordsman would not charge a mass ranked of spearmen, looking at the role in which ashigaru were employed, as marksmen,bowmen and spearmen, these are mass ranks that depend on mutual support , where as a samurai tend to fight more independently seeking out that all important high ranking opponent.

                  So whilst the armour was'nt as good as a samurai's it was none the less adequate for its role, spearman had a huge advantage over mounted samurai, as did aquebuse and even archers, which both would fire from behind pallisades or protected by spearmen.

                  Its all about mutual protection

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by instant1592 View Post
                    yeah but even foot soldiers in Europe had much more protective helmets. And for all the warfare in the Sengoku period you'd think they would give some more protection to their soldiers. Its not like in Korea where there was almost no warfare, in Japan it was basically a century of constant war.
                    erm korea had quite a few issues too at that time in fact took them longer to recover, oh and the japanese and chinese popping in to help out too...

                    bless em

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                    • #11
                      well Korean soldiers during the Joseon dynasty did not even wear helmets, just hats. Mainly because Japanese pirates and Jurchen raiders were the primary attackers during the time. And since nomadic raiders and Japanese pirates would hardly be armed with heavy armour or weaponry there wasn't really a need for armour for foot soldiers. Obvisouly during the Imjin War the lack of armour for the soldiers would have some serious consequences. What I'm trying to say though is that you'd expect Japan to have arm even their foot soldiers better since their was so much war during the Sengoku period. I'm just wondering if anyone had any idea how the jiangsa design came to be. And I wonder if the resemblance to the typical hats the rice farmers wore during then had any impact on the design.

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                      • #12
                        Got to agree with the previous opinions. The primary battle weapons in the entire history of Japanese warfare, not just the Sengoku Jidai, were distance weapons. This was followed by spears, and only rarely were swords employed as a last resort. Against distance weapons or spears, the jingasa would have been adequate protection. Ashigaru equipment was generally provided by the daimyo that was employing them, therefore it tended to be on the cheap and mass produced side.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by instant1592 View Post
                          well Korean soldiers during the Joseon dynasty did not even wear helmets, just hats. Mainly because Japanese pirates and Jurchen raiders were the primary attackers during the time. And since nomadic raiders and Japanese pirates would hardly be armed with heavy armour or weaponry there wasn't really a need for armour for foot soldiers. Obvisouly during the Imjin War the lack of armour for the soldiers would have some serious consequences. What I'm trying to say though is that you'd expect Japan to have arm even their foot soldiers better since their was so much war during the Sengoku period. I'm just wondering if anyone had any idea how the jiangsa design came to be. And I wonder if the resemblance to the typical hats the rice farmers wore during then had any impact on the design.

                          Ok well look at the shape of the helmet, the conical shape could probably offer some degree of deflection properties to a sword, also lets assume an average japanese arrow travels at about 150 fps , so after around 40 yards they lose bite (any kyudo guys im very sorry if its way out feel free to use ma as a new azuchi) that drop in power , could be deflected by the shape, in all its the shape of the helmet that gives it strengh, it isnt designed to stop more deflect...

                          The answer is in japanese castles trust me...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pgsmith View Post
                            Got to agree with the previous opinions. The primary battle weapons in the entire history of Japanese warfare, not just the Sengoku Jidai, were distance weapons. This was followed by spears, and only rarely were swords employed as a last resort. Against distance weapons or spears, the jingasa would have been adequate protection. Ashigaru equipment was generally provided by the daimyo that was employing them, therefore it tended to be on the cheap and mass produced side.
                            Same is true in most country's history. Crossbows, longbows, cannons and early guns (with new tactics to best use them) put an end to the dominance of mounted knights and heavy cavalry because so few could afford the headbendingly expensive late-period plate armour designed to protect against these things. People like to romanticise Medieval warfare as MANLY MEN matching strength in a fight TO THE DEATH (more of a meat grinder tbh) but ranged weapons have always been more favoured - kills your enemy without loss.

                            As for Ashigaru gear being crap - are you surprised? Do you know how MANY Ashigaru there were? Japan was a crazy populous country even then, I'm surprised it took until Oda Nobunaga for early guns to find proper use (simple, effective weapon with short training period + huge manpower base = large numbers of cheap, dangerous infantry).

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