Hatamoto Samurai Armor

     A hatamoto was a samurai in the direct service of the Tokugawa Shogunate of feudal Japan.  The title of hatamoto was the most coveted position for any samurai and reserved for the Shogun’s most trusted retainer and advisors.  The word “hatamoto” was the literal meaning of “beneath the flag”, because it was directly underneath the flags and battle standards of the daimyo (Japan’s feudal lords) that one would have found the samurai warriors who bore this most noble of titles.  They made up the daimyo’s mounted and foot guards’ served on his general staff, to plan strategy and to supervise his military administration; or provided immediate personal services to their lord, of which the most important of all was the shared duty of protecting his person. Every hatamoto, therefore, was to some extent a true guardsman who was willing to throw himself in front of his lord when danger threatened – which was no more than would be expected from these bravest and most loyal of all samurai warriors.

     The battlefield exploits of the hatamoto provide some of the most stirring episodes in samurai history, but not all were completely successful in their fundamental role of guarding their lord.  Despite a handful of disasters of the hatamoto failing to save the life of their daimyo, there are countless successful feats of loyalty and self-sacrifice accomplished by other hatamoto, whose bravery and military skills ensure the future of many a lord’s house in its moment of darkest peril.

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Samurai armor handcrafted by the Iron Mountain Armory.