Kote – Hand Armor

Kote is the term used referring to an old Japanese name for Samurai Suit or period Samurai Armor. These are armored sleeves protecting the wrist of the Japanese warrior.

Certain parts of the body can be flexible however; the wrist is a soft spot. There is a need to keep it out of harm’s end and this can be accomplished by using Kote. These armored sleeves are made of textile material like laced, silk brocade or padded material.

Gauntlets or covers of metal plates will protect the hand as this is attached to this type of Samurai Armor. Gloves referred to as Yugake are worn under these armored sleeves.

Today, this can be ordered and personalized. Customized armored sleeves can be both functional and decorative at the same time.

However, this can take several weeks as much as eight weeks’ time to produce. These resemble a small hand that explains the name given to it.

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Different Varieties

  • Kote-Haramaki. This covers the belly area
  • Tominaga-Kote. Connects the front and back of the armor
  • Sashinuki Kote. Resembles a short jacket but, is actually a form of armor

These were made of iron coated to protect from rust. Premium made Kote uses high-grade cotton. Modern versions of Kote can be dyed if the customer prefers so. Some of these are even made of deerskin.

These are reinforced by using diagonal stitching or Nanamezashi to add comfort. One of the most popular kinds of design use is Hakkou Jirushi. This is preferred by those who enter competitions.

Even their teachers prefer this design as well. Kote is commonly used in the art of bayonet fighting especially during the 12th century but, was used widely in the 17th century. Basically, this is the hand protection use by Kendo practitioners.

Samuraiantiqueworld [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Kote Parts

  • Tekko. Found at the top
  • Kanmuri no ita and Circular plate. At the elbow
  • Hiji Gane. Better known as elbow guard
  • Yasurime. Diagonal lines that enhance the surface
  • Sawari. Iron cut-outs splashed with silvery alloy. This resembles rain or dew drops

There are different ways to tie the Kote. The first one is under the shoulder and around the arm. This will give owners full access to maneuvering their sword during practice.

The second one is over the shoulder and around the neck. This offers full protection to the arm and shoulder. The third one is tying them directly to the shoulder straps of the armor or Watagami.

All of these ways of tying are said to create a light to carry equipment. These are both flexible and protective at the same time. It may at first seems to look to big for the one who will wear it, however, 10 minutes into using it will mold this on the hand.

It is easier to move after the 10 minutes of using it has passed. For those who don’t want big letters for identification purposes can order for embroidery in subdued colors and smaller shape letters. This aims to avoid this armor from being stolen.

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