In Japanese, they're called "kawari kabuto", which is often translated as "unusual helmets". They're some of the most interesting head armour you'll ever see.
Today, I got out my sons' miniature samurai armour and helmet to display for Children's Day, which is on May 5. The armour measures about two and a half feet high -- maybe slightly less.
You wear little white gloves while setting up the armour and use a feather duster to keep the set clean. The helmet's design is modelled after stag beetles. It's hardly unusual.
The unusual helmets started in the 16th century and were used to help high-ranking officials stand out in the fray. While they looked unusual, the helmets were battle-ready. The customisation could help these samurai strike an intimidating figure in a fight. The helmets might look heavy, but the elaborate decorations added to the helmet were light, as not to make them too cumbersome.
Here are some of the most interesting ones from over the years:
[Photo: Tokyo Fuji Art Museum]
[Photo: KJ Club]
Top photo: Wiki