By way of clairification, I never said the Japanese would be more or less likely to be armored than the English, what I was referring to were the circumstances of the incident.
I suggested that the 22 Japanese who boarded the Tiger were probably not armored because they were boarding ostensibily to parlay and armor might have raised suspicions. I figured the British party which went to the Japanese junk initially probably included some armored men because Milton said they were fitted out for a fight and 'very heavily armed'. And some of them were probably soldiers. The 60 or so Japanese ronin on the Junk very likely had armor but it did them no good since their vessel was out-gunned in terms of ordinance. They probably had arquebus too Japnese arquebusiers were famously effective in naval battles during this period (their overall naval skills considerably less so) but it sounds like the English guns tore apart the junk pretty quickly so that didn't matter either.
Do you have a source on boarding pikes? From looking into it a little, my understanding of the boarding pike was that they became standardized in the 19th Century (and stored around the mast), but I found various diferent images of them from earlier periods, some with gaff hooks, some with broad cutting blades. I've only been able to find drawings though no photos of antiques, which I'd love to see.
I remember Milton mentioned some Portuguese sailors or soldiers fighting and winning duels against Samurai, but I didn't remember that it was a detailed account. Supposedly records of these duels exist in the Portuguese national archives, someone quoted a short excerpt on Myarmoury once but I haven't been able to find a transcription online. I'd like to.
There is also a detailed story in Samurai William about a pitched battle between the forces of a local Daimyo and a Spanish Galleon, which was quite interesting. It would be interesting to follow up on some of Miltons sources there.
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