Nihon Katchû Seisakuben
Online Japanese Armour Manual

Chapter Fifteen:
Miscellaneous Armour

       The armour in this chapter is neither required nor standard; however, they are occasionally useful, and possibly interesting, items. In SCA combat, the use of some of them may even have definite advantages.

 

Manchira

Manchira       The term “manchira” comes from the Portuguese “mantilla.” It is a sort of upper-torso wrap-around that can be padded, brigandined, or covered with mail. The manchira may be worn under the dô, but is not required. I personally like them for SCA fighting, as it’s just a little bit of padding as the itself has none.

       The pattern is almost stupidly simple. The manchira is a single piece of fabric (well, two if you attach a standing collar). The foundation is, as usual, in three layers, only with an additional layer or so of batting (if you want padding) placed in strategic places. If you actually brigandine the cloth, the padding is probably unnecessary. Pattern for a basic manchira

Manchira       As you did with the haidate, lay out all the layers of fabric, pin them together, and cut all at once. Remember that there is no seam allowance as the fabric’s edges are entirely enclosed in bias tape. If you’re brigandining any part of the manchira, do it according to the instructions in the chapter “Before Beginning.” If not, just put the pieces together and run a long strip of bias tape all along the edges, closing it up. Attach four sets of frogs as shown in the diagram. You’re done!

 

 

Wakibiki

       These separate armpit guards are made of cloth foundations that are covered in mail, small plates, kikkô, etc. They can also be made so that the top inch or two is a metal plate, and the rest is cloth. I’ve even seen a few odd ones made of lames laced with sugake odoshi.

Wakibiki

Most wakibiki were made with short cords that just fit over the shoulder, and relied as much on this cord as the pressure of the against the wearer to keep them in place. Others had longer ties that allowed them to be tied on the opposite side of the neck.

Wakibiki      Since the purpose is to protect the area just below the armpit, a part usually slightly exposed given the shape and fit of the dô, you might want to sandwitch some heavy leather under the cloth.

       Cut to the shape in the illustration above in whatever medium you want and finish it to suit your tastes. Knot two cords, one in either upper edge of the wakibiki.

       Note that you can only use the “far side of the neck” ties this someone else ties the knot. I’ve still not met anyone limber enough to do it by himself. You can alternately make a long loop with each end tied in the holes; you’ll have to raise your arm straight up and slide the wakibiki and cord down around your head. It is worn as close up under the armpit as is comfortable.

       If you wear manchira and wakibiki (unusual overkill), the wakibiki are under the manchira. You really shouldn’t wear both, however.

 

Kôgake

Kôgake      Kôgake are armoured tabi. These are not for SCA fighting, believe me. I can’t imagine walking in them, even. I’m not giving you a pattern, as I don’t want to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit from your podiatrist.

Kôgake       The plates are stitched to a deerskin foundation and may either come with a slightly heavier leather sole and worn as a slipper, or may just be a metal surface worn on top of the foot. The backs are left open to tie closed on the foot.Waraji — straw sandals — are worn over the kôgake as if they were normal tabi.

       I’ve seen one peculiar version that actually was tabi, albeit tabi coated in mail and sprinkled with small metal plates. That version is shown below.

Kôgake

 

 

Kegutsu

Kegutsu       Okay, these really aren’t armour, but when you fight they might be useful. Kegutsu are “fur boots.” Usually they were bearskin. This the one thing you can do to dress up your combat footgear, too, making them look like they fit the rest of the picture.

       True kegutsu are slipper-like, and easy to construct. If you want to have traction and toe protection, however, you’ll need serious cobbling skills, or some good glue and an awl and heavy linen threads. Why glue? Because you will be gluing fur (fake, if you want) to the tops, sides, and back of your ankle boots, and sewing a printed leather riser to the sides. If you can get the awl in there, sew around the bottom of the fur section to permanently secure it to the leather boot.

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This page was last modified on: 3/16/04

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