Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > Middle Eastern and African History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Middle Eastern and African History Middle Eastern and African History Forum - Egypt, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and all nations of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old February 9th, 2010, 08:36 PM   #1

okamido's Avatar
knows what the bee knows
 
Joined: Jun 2009
From: land of Califia
Posts: 27,855
Blog Entries: 19
African Samurai


In 1579, the Jesuit Alessandro Valignano traveled to Japan accompanied by his African page. Upon hearing of his skin color, Nobunaga ordered him to be brought before him as an intriguiging novelty. One anecdotal story says that Nobunaga had his men scrub the man vigouroulsy with soap and water to see if his skin color was paint.

When Valignano prepared to leave Japan, Nobunaga requested that the slave, now called Yasuke, be left behind for a time. He apparently spent much time with the Daimyo and was even present at Honno-ji where Nobunaga met his end at the hands of Akechi Mitsuhide. From there, Yasuke retired to the service of Nobunaga's heir, Nobutada. When Akechi's forces attacked Nobutada, Yasuke was said to have fought side by side with the Oda until overwhelming odds forced a surrender.

With his surrender, Yasuke was brought before Akechi who thought him nothing more than a beast and decide that since he was not Japanese, he should be returned to the Jesuits, who were apparently relieved to see him safe.

The Shincho koki, known as the Lord Nobunaga Chronicle, states that Yasuke was," On the 23rd of the 2nd month [March 23, 1581], a black page (黒坊主 "kuro-bōzu") came from the Christian countries. He looked about 26 [24 or 25 by Western count] or 27 years old; his entire body was black like that of an ox. The man was healthy and good-looking. Moreover, his strength was greater than that of 10 men."
okamido is offline  
Remove Ads
Old February 9th, 2010, 08:38 PM   #2

NewModelSoldier's Avatar
Thread Killer
¤ Essayist of the Year ¤
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Vancouver
Posts: 5,016
Blog Entries: 22
Re: African Samurai


Thats quite interesting actually. I find the scrubbing part funny, I suppose you would think that since that skin colour would be pretty foreign to your culture entirely.
NewModelSoldier is offline  
Old February 9th, 2010, 08:48 PM   #3

okamido's Avatar
knows what the bee knows
 
Joined: Jun 2009
From: land of Califia
Posts: 27,855
Blog Entries: 19
Re: African Samurai


Quote:
Originally Posted by NewModelSoldier View Post
Thats quite interesting actually. I find the scrubbing part funny, I suppose you would think that since that skin colour would be pretty foreign to your culture entirely.
In all the things I have read about Samurai history, this is the first time I have heard of this. I stumbled across it when I was thinking of starting a topic on Will Adams's adventures in Japan, and thought it was more interesting. Will Adams will have to wait.
okamido is offline  
Old February 10th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #4

Salah's Avatar
Last of the Mohicans
¤ Blog of the Year ¤
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Baltimorean-in-exile
Posts: 21,131
Blog Entries: 178
Re: African Samurai


Quote:
Originally Posted by okamido View Post
In all the things I have read about Samurai history, this is the first time I have heard of this.
The same with me, Okamido. Thanks for sharing this story with us
Salah is offline  
Old February 10th, 2010, 03:27 PM   #5

Sargon of Akkad's Avatar
Backworldsman
 
Joined: Jun 2009
From: Glorious England
Posts: 6,985
Re: African Samurai


Quote:
Originally Posted by okamido View Post
The Shincho koki, known as the Lord Nobunaga Chronicle, states that Yasuke was," On the 23rd of the 2nd month [March 23, 1581], a black page (黒坊主 "kuro-bōzu") came from the Christian countries. He looked about 26 [24 or 25 by Western count] or 27 years old; his entire body was black like that of an ox. The man was healthy and good-looking. Moreover, his strength was greater than that of 10 men."
I love these kind of descriptions, when one culture is encountering a race or culture that is completely alien to them. It's always so interesting to see what they make of each other.
Sargon of Akkad is offline  
Old February 10th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #6
Archivist
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 173
Re: African Samurai


it reminds me of the story where York Lewis' slave met the indians.
KingCoel1996 is offline  
Old February 10th, 2010, 06:53 PM   #7

Salah's Avatar
Last of the Mohicans
¤ Blog of the Year ¤
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Baltimorean-in-exile
Posts: 21,131
Blog Entries: 178
Re: African Samurai


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sargon of Akkad View Post
I love these kind of descriptions, when one culture is encountering a race or culture that is completely alien to them. It's always so interesting to see what they make of each other.
I'm the same. That's why Tacitus' Germania is one of my favorite examples of Classical literature
Salah is offline  
Old February 11th, 2010, 10:12 AM   #8
Scholar
 
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 902
Re: African Samurai


For further studies about Japanese perceptions of black people one can read:

Leupp, Gary P: "Images of Black people in late mediaeval and early modern Japan, 1543-1900". This essay is a part of the books Race, Ethicity and Migration in modern Japan (3 vol), edited by Michael Weiner.
Koolasuchus is offline  
Old February 11th, 2010, 11:17 AM   #9

Rasta's Avatar
Spiritual Ronin
 
Joined: Aug 2009
From: Minnesnowta
Posts: 21,071
Re: African Samurai


Interesting story, thanks for sharing.
Rasta is offline  
Old February 15th, 2010, 04:55 AM   #10
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 6,151
Re: African Samurai


Thanks for sharing this, I will definitely look more into this story.
Emilio Primo is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > Middle Eastern and African History

Tags
african, samurai


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Was Viking king Halfdan the Black an African? Nick Medieval and Byzantine History 155 April 3rd, 2013 10:03 PM
Level of Civilization in African history Efendi Middle Eastern and African History 110 December 24th, 2010 10:39 AM
African information passed on during slavery? Cormac Ó Comhraí American History 0 December 25th, 2009 05:33 AM
Samurai vs Musketeer Nick Speculative History 19 November 6th, 2009 09:28 AM
south african war and russian revolution jnice Middle Eastern and African History 0 April 9th, 2009 03:52 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.