I've always been fascinated about the history of ancient Japan before the Samurai. A period rarely written about, and never truly brought to light in films or any form of media.

I was wondering what these men wore for protection, how their armours looked like, what weapons they used. What their relationship was with the state, and how they were organised. How different was a Yamato/Kofun warrior from a Samurai, and did they use shields ?

1 Answer 1


By the end of the yayoi period, Japan had completed the transition from the earlier stone age society, to a metalworking society based on iron and copper, with weapons being typically tipped with iron.

This gave way in the third century CE to the Kofun (early Yamato) period. At that time, there was no direct relationship between soldiers and the state, as was the later case with the samurai. Instead, something resembling Europe's later feudal system was in place, with a group of powerful (noble) clans reporting directly to the Emperor, and in turn raising armies of picked soldiers ostensibly (but not always) in the service of the Emperor.

Yamato Period

During the Yamato Period, soldiers wore iron helmets and armor.

  • Never knew but always could to read about. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 4:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.