The anime series “Yasuke” inspires numerous Netflix fans in a short time. Did you know that the title character actually existed? Netzwelt has all the information.
At first glance, the visually stunning anime full of magic and mechas has little in common with reality. But as the saying goes: Even in the wildest fantasies there is often a grain of truth. That also applies “Yasuke“to, because apparently it has actually given to African samurai in the Sengoku period.
The first people from Mozambique, Africa, often reached Japan in 1546 as ship workers or slaves. The historical person Yasuke must also have come to the country during the so-called Nanban trading period, before Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu initiated the isolation of Japan for more than 200 years in the 1630s (also known as Sakoku, Japanese for: closed country) .
The person Yasufe
Much is not known about his life and little can be found in the historical records of the samurai. Yasuke apparently belonged to the Makua, a Bantu ethnic group in northern Mozambique. His real name may have been Yasufe, which was converted to Yasuke in the Japanese language.
Yasufe reached Japan in 1579 in the service of the Italian missionary of the Jesuits Alessandro Valignano. Frequently accompanied by Valignano, the strange-looking Makua caused a sensation among the Japanese. According to the records, Yasufe also accompanied the missionary to the court of Daimyo Oda Nobunaga. The prince assumed that his dark skin was colored with ink and tried to wipe it off.
Yasufe was very likely able to communicate in Japanese, since Alessandro Valignano attached great importance to the fact that the Jesuit dormer could also be conveyed correctly. That would explain why Nobunaga was very interested in the African and put him in his service.
Yasuke, der Samurai
In the course of the recognition of the daimyo, an African named Yasuke was given his own residence and a katana was presented by Nobunaga in a ceremony. That was him too imposed the duty to go to battle for Oda Nobunaga. In the real Sengoku period, however, without mechas and magic.
In 1582, Yasuke probably went to the Battle of Tenmokuzan for the alliance of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga against the Takeda clan. Their leader, Takeda Katsuyori, had to surrender to the power of the alliance. Also in the records of the Takeda clan is an African samurai who fought in the service of Nobunaga.
Even if little is known about Yasufes or Yasuke’s earlier life, it can be assumed that it is with the two are about one and the same person. This made the Makua from northern Mozambique the first African samurai in Japan.
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