Was the Horo Cavalry Balloon cloak effective? and if so is there a European/Non Japanese Variant?

My understanding is to defend against arrowfire positioning armor away from the body is practical so it seems that such armor would be useful for either scouts or bow cavalry or just messengers like the Japanese.


2 Answers 2


Horo cloak Video

Greetings.Seeing as there has been much question concerning the presence and use of the Horo by many on the forums I thought perhaps I would provide this excerpt for the esteemed Stephen Turnbull (Who incidentally served as chief advisor to CA for the creation of this game) and his excellent book The Samurai Sourcebook where he goes into description of this ornamental piece....here goes...

"The Horo is a very important overcloth of Military Men.It is very wise to carry it always because it drives away all sorts of calamity and misfortune,and when you are killed on the battlefield the enemy will understand,as they recognise the Horo,that the dead man was not a common person,and so your corpse will be well treated.When fighting,the Horo must be fastened to the ring which is called horotsuke no kan.When you have killed an enemy who wears the horo,wrap his head,which you cut off,in a piece of his horo."

due to the style and wording I suspect that this excerpt was taken from an earlier contemporary piece,but it does the job to explain that even though it is called the "arrow tangler" there is no real reference to this usage(unless we count deflecting arrows as one of the myriad calamities that it is said to ward off) but instead served as a mark of distinction and immediate recognisation for the wearer(as it is also commented that often the wearers name was written on it in large script as an advertisment of sorts to worthy foes and a warning to his enemies).I hope this helps to clarify some of the questions that have been surfacing amongst the threads TWCenter

My apologies to Chevalier IX, who is the author of the quote above; I don't think the citation conveys that I am repeating Chevalier's comment.


Mike Loades did an episode on this and it was amazingly effective. With nothing but air backing the silk it deformed with the arrow and basically captured the arrow, causing it to fall away or worst case it gets tangled in the silk, reducing the effectiveness of the horo.

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    Doubtful. The complete list of all mythbusters tests can be found on mythresults.com - none abotu samurai, but a couple ninja ones. None of the arrow ones handle with cloaks (but two with ninja)
    – Trish
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:14
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    In fact, I found out who made the test: It was Mike Loads, not Mythbusters, most likely for History Channel and with a lower poundage Yumi.
    – Trish
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:21

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