The Characteristic of Do-maru

Do-maru is yoroi armor which appeared in middle of Heian era.

O-yoroi appeared in the same epoch, and it was made for samurais on horse,

but do-maru was a simple and light yoroi armor made for commun samurais without horses.


The characteristic of do-maru is its structure that it attaches on its right side,

and it is considered to be developed from do-maru style kacchu, which attaches on its front side.

The reason why it is attached on the right side is yet to be clear, but it should be made

to protect the front side and to make it easier to put on and put off.


The history and Detail

Considering documents which tell us how it was in the end of Heian era,

most samurais with do-maru do not have horses, nor suneate, and they are bare-footed.

Therefore, do-maru should be made for lower-class samurais.


However, thinking of how the battle was at that time, the role of samurais

on horses with o-yoroi and samurais without horses with do-maru were set.

The battle first starts from shooting from horse, but at the end of battle, samurais

without horses run and fight or kill enemies.

Those samurais without horses develop later into ashigaru groups, and they play an important role.


Considering these backgrounds, the role of do-maru in battle should have been important.



do-maru structure


  • Nagagawa

Do-maru’s structure is to turn around the trunk and to be tied up at the right side.

Nagagawa, which goes around the trunk, is made by 4 steps.


  • Tateage

Tateage has two types; maetateage which protects the breast and ushiro tateage

which protects the upper side of the back.

Tateage is made by 5 parts; munaita, oshitukeita and wakiitas (1 left part and 2 right parts),

and they are mainly made by iron.


  • Kusazuri

Kusazuri is made to protect thighs. At first, it was made of 4 parts, but later they separated

into 8 parts so that it should be easier to walk.



The first do-marus were mainly consisted of nagagawa, tateage and kusazuri, and

they were very simple. Although after Nanbokucho era, o-sodes which protect from shoulders

to elbows, gyo-yo which protect around the neck, haidate which is put under kusazuri

and suneate which protects the front side of the legs are used, and do-marus became heavier

and heavier.




When do-marus first appeared, they were mainly used by lower-class samurais,

but more and more upper-class samurais used them because they were light and convenient.

Especially, they were often used from Nanbokucyo era to Muromachi era (AD1336 – AD1467).


At this time, other armors such as kabuto or sode were frequently used, too.


As time passes, do-maru developed from a simple armor to a heavier and original armor,

because of the changes in battle style.


At Heian era, archery on horses was the main style but later, approach style and collective style

became mainstream, therefore, do-maru which is convenient for both horses and walk was

frequently used.

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