Language: Japanese
Source: In common use


Kusari katabira (鎖帷子) means "chain jacket" which is part of a set of kusari gusoku (鎖具足) or "chain armor". They often come with other pieces, usually at least a hood is added, called kusari zukin (鎖頭巾). 


Japanese mail set

A set of Japanese mail with jacket and coif.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.


The rings are usually much smaller than that on the mail of other cultures and are almost invariably stiched to a fabric or leather undergarment, or sandwiched between two layers of fabric. According to George Cameron Stone, Japan had more variety of mail than all the other cultures combined and many combinations of patterns exist, some with plates in-between.1

It was worn by samurai and soldiers of feudal Japan, up to the late 1860s.2


Samurai in mail armor

A rare photo of a group of samurai, late 1800s.
Three of them are wearing mail armor.
Photographer unknown. Public Domain.


1. George Cameron Stone; A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor: In All Countries and in All Times, Courier Dover Publications, 1999. Page 403.
2. Ian Heath, Armies of the 19th Century: Asia, Japan and Korea. Foundry Books, 2011. Pages 77-78.

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Japanese mail set, with small ring vest and coif sewn to a thick cotton undergarment.


Carved out of copper alloy with details highlighted in gold.


Very delicate work with carved guardian lions.


Unusual tsuba with foreign figures and Chinese auspicious symbols.


Pierced and chiseled showing an 18th century European vessel.


Very finely carved with designs reminiscent of export wares.