What is MARUTAKE?
Their mission is to let the world know how beautiful traditional Japanese Samurai armor is. MARUTAKE, which produces more than 90 % of new Samurai armor in Japan, is located in Kagoshima prefecture in KYUSHU island, the southern part of japan. It started as a fishing tool company and gradually shifted toward armor-making because of the founder’s strong affection for Samurai.
Where can I see MARUTAKE’s armor?
Almost all armor worn in Japanese Samurai movies or dramas have been made by MARUTAKE. If you are a big fan of Japanese Samurai movies, you might have come across their armor on the screen. For instance, their armor was used in KAGEMUSHA(The Shadow Warrior) and RAN(Revolt) directed by the famous movie director, AKIRA KUROSAWA.
They also have been proving their armor to museums, historical festivals, kabuki, weeding ceremonies and so forth.
You can even find their armor in restaurants, galleries or someone’s house.
The artisans working there make accurate reproductions of Samurai armor worn by real Samurai warriors in battle fields. Surprisingly, they don’t use a single blueprint when they produce armor. The truth is they remember how to make their products and which parts are needed. What is important through their armor making process is their aesthetic taste. This is why every armor looks slightly different even if it is the same design.
In addition, they pay close attention to the materials too. They use authentic materials such as iron, leather, cotton, horsetail/yak hair, lacquer and so on. No parts are made of plastics. The methods used by MARUTAKE’s artisans are quite traditional too. They cut, bend, hammer, color, stitch. All the iron plates are hammered one by one. They don’t let any machines do this work. Also in order to make one armor, more than 30 artisans are involved.
They only offer build-to-order or their armor to make best quality armor. If they receive an order, they will start making an armor for you. Armor is all hand-made. It takes 1-2 months to complete one armor. The more time the artisans spend, the better quality your armor can become. If you have special request such as changing of the color of an armor or making an armor for larger size, they can make it happen with some extra price.
Their armor isn’t dolls nor model. It’s a real battle ready armor and is wearable. Their passion toward samurai armor makes them well known to the world. The quality of the products made by MARUTAKE is so outstanding that it’s designated as a traditional craft by Kagoshima prefecture’s government.
How can I enjoy an armor?
You can display an armor in your living room or you can wear at a special event or even first thing in the morning to motivate yourself.
From Samurai’s point of view, his armor is the only thing that would protect him in the battle fields and at the same time he and his army can show their personality, belief.