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Royal Armouries Museum

Samurai armour in Tokugawa Japan

Thursday afternoon lecture
21st February - 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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As some of the world’s leading authorities in their fields, our curators and conservators will present an exciting range of talks on subjects as varied as the death of Richard III to the secrets behind the making of the infamous Iraqi Supergun.

Investigating why armour was in such demand and remained synonymous with the identity of the samurai.

After centuries of tumultuous civil wars, the Tokugawa shogunate established dominion across Japan in the early 1600s. The new regime unified the country and entrenched rigidly controlled peace throughout the land for over 250 years. For members of the warrior class, the likelihood of becoming embroiled in warfare was dramatically diminished. Yet rather than dropping out of use, armour continued to be produced on an increasingly elaborate scale. Indeed, much of the Japanese armour now held in the Royal Armouries collection was manufactured during this time. This talk considers why armour was still in demand in such a becalmed environment, and remained synonymous with the identity of the samurai.


Natasha Bennett – Curator of Oriental Collections




45 minutes