The Forgotten Samurai

The Forgotten Samurai

Written on 07/24/2019
CuriPow


Yasuke (1555 - 1590) was Japan's first samurai of black African origin. Yasuke’s origins are shrouded in mystery.  He was probably born between 1555 and 1566, but even that is not certain. Historians are not even sure of the origin of his name, though it is most likely the Japanese form of his original name. According to one source, he may have been a Makua from Mozambique. It has also been suggested that he was from Angola or Ethiopia. Additionally, he may have been a European-born slave from Portugal.

Parts of Yasuke’s story lived on in a 1916 Japanese children's book called Kuro-suke, about a young, black samurai who often dreams of his parents in Africa.




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