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Old 04-10-2005, 04:30 PM   #1
MitchMZ
Dojo: Prairie-Aikikai
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Shields in Japan?

I was just wondering if anytime in the history of Japan shields were used alongside swords. I have never seen or heard of shields in Japanese arts, I can only assume that were rarely used, if ever. I would think a shield would be a very formidable form of defense, that would not take a lot of skill to use effectively.

If anyone could enlighten me as to what part (if any) shields played in Japan it would be much appreciated.
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Old 04-10-2005, 05:08 PM   #2
Mashu
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Re: Shields in Japan?

A good explanation might be in one of Dr. Karl Friday's books. It's been awhile since I read "Hired Swords" by him but it might be in there. George Sansom's "A History of Japan to 1334" might be a one good as well. From what I remember the earliest clans in southern Japan used them. The Japanese of the time emulated the trends of the continent especially after they were done over in Korea by enemies who primarily used horse mounted archers. Which led to early Samurai types being armored horse archers. This might be why they didn't do much with shields as time went on. When the different clans started raising their own armies especially in the Sengoku Jidai they might not have been very concerned about the lives of their foot soldiers (Ashigaru) and most of the weapons they used were two-handed anyway.

But don't take my word for it there are plenty of books and sites with at least some mention of these things.

http://www.samurai-archives.com/earlyjapan.html

http://www.judoinfo.com/samurai.htm

Last edited by Mashu : 04-10-2005 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:30 PM   #3
Bronson
 
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Re: Shields in Japan?

Don't know if shields are historic, Japanese, or what but check out these at Century's
website.

Combine those with the padded swords and headgear at the bottom of the page and you've got the makings for a lot of fun

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 04-15-2005, 09:10 AM   #4
Daniel Moore
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Re: Shields in Japan?

There's a form of shield used in combination with a small spear in some forms of Okinawan Karate, so it's possible they were used on the mainland.
bushido_dan.
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Old 04-25-2005, 07:25 AM   #5
Randathamane
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Re: Shields in Japan?

Quote:
Mitch Kuntz wrote:
I was just wondering if anytime in the history of Japan shields were used alongside swords. I have never seen or heard of shields in Japanese arts, I can only assume that were rarely used, if ever. I would think a shield would be a very formidable form of defense, that would not take a lot of skill to use effectively.

If anyone could enlighten me as to what part (if any) shields played in Japan it would be much appreciated.


Shields were never used in japan once the katana had been made and perfected. The shield is a large and cumbersome piece of kit and for an army constantly on the move, it would weigh the soldier down, slowing the army up. Why use it if you have this sword that will do the same thing?

You have this two handed sword that will stop (that is physically stop) around 90% of melee weapons that are put in its direction. The only thing you have to worry about is another Katana that is allot harder than yours. Why try put a shield in there as well when it would be less effective?

Since the sword needs two hands to use effectively why bother?

Given the cutting potential of the katana, i doubt a shield would have done much anyhow.
The only kind of shield they used was a mop like device that was held above the head (like an umbrella, but a mop instead) and which a samurai could rotate. It was large- the idea being that as the fibres spun, arrows would get caught in it and not pass through to harm the oppertor.
Bizare as this is it did have a reasonable sucsess rate.




Last edited by Randathamane : 04-25-2005 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 05-02-2005, 01:48 AM   #6
Fred26
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Re: Shields in Japan?

I have an off-topic question but it is related though

During the Samurai Invasion of Korea in the late 16th century, the japanese fought both Koreans and Chinese armies. I know a little bit bout the korean weapons that were used in this campaign, but did the koreans and/or chinese have shields in their armies?

I've read that they used bamboo shields to cover the advancing troops during sieges, but I haven't read anything about a personal shield.
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