Yasuke: The African Samurai

The Daily Beagle

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. With these new weapons Japan would be reunified by three warlords: Oda Nobunaga would begin the process; his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi would complete unification and Tokugawa…

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