Yasuke: The African Samurai
Japan is not a place one would usually associate with immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean. Yet in the late 16th century Japan’s most powerful warlord, Oda Nobunaga, had a black page who was not only a cultural curiosity but also served as Nobunaga’s bodyguard and was granted the prestigious rank of Samurai. This was a time of incessant warfare as the Ashikaga Shogunate fell and Japan became a war-torn nation with each tribe vying for control of against rival warlords. During this time the key to supremacy lay in controlling the powerless Emperor in his court in Kyoto. In the mid 16th century this civil war was nearing its end with the arrival of the Europeans and their modern armaments, guns and cannons. Nobunaga is himself a very interesting character. Nobunaga was obsessed with all things Western besides their armour and armaments and is one of the first recorded Japanese men to have worn Western clothing, use tables and chairs, and drink wine from goblets. Like this:
Related: Stories, and People, from Africa.
• Individuals in Japanese History