Samurai vs. Knight

Essay by bananababe4333High School, 10th gradeA-, January 2009

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The purpose of armor is to protect a warrior against weapons. Samurais and knights had different opinions on what was important in their armor and how to put their armor together. In addition to that, the samurai's and knight's armor changed throughout the centuries in the Middle Ages because they had to adapt to different weapons. Although their armor was very different, it was also quite similar.

Before understanding of the warrior's armor can occur, awareness of the warrior's mind set must be known. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki wrote about what the attitude of a warrior should be. He writes, "Those who are reluctant to give up their lives and embrace death are not true warriors… When you leave the house determined not to see it again you will come home safety; when you have any thought of returning you will not return. You may not be in the wrong to think that the world is always subject to change, but the warrior must not entertain this way of thinking."


The samurai's armor consisted mostly of metal plating. The metal plates were first lacquered. Then they were laced together using either silk or leather cords. No chain mail was used in the samurai's armor. Almost all of the armor was metal plating, which helped the samurai achieve their maneuverability goal.

The knight's armor had seven layers. The base of their armor was a pair of loose breaches and a shirt, two separate tight-fitting pant legs, and chausses, which were chain mail leggings. To provide more protection they added a padded coat called a gambeson, a long tunic that often represented wealth and status through color, and a chain mail shirt called a hauberk that had a hood called a coif. Finally, they would wear a coat called a gipon. On...