Exploring the History of Yasuke, the Black Samurai Featured in the Upcoming Assassin’s Creed

Published on 02/06/2024 17:25

Assassin’s Creed players, who are familiar with the historical settings of the game, were surprised to see a black samurai in medieval Japan. Is this a historical inaccuracy?

Fans of the video game Assassin’s Creed are accustomed to exploring different historical periods. The next installment is set to take place in medieval Japan, but the presence of a black samurai in the trailer has raised questions among some players. Some argue that it is an inaccurate representation of history. Is the existence of a black samurai truly a historical inconsistency?

False, as this character did exist in Japan in the late 16th century. A chronicle from that time mentions the famous Yasuke, described as a black man. The account of a French Jesuit specifically details the arrival of “a servant native of Mozambique in the archipelago.” He then entered into the service of Lord Nobunaga, as noted by a specialist of the period, who highlights that the lord’s entourage was taken aback by Yasuke’s stature and complexion.

The official chronicle of Lord Nobunaga, written in 1598, also describes Yasuke as a black man who arrived from the land of the Christians. Tall, powerful, and in the service of a Japanese lord, was he truly a samurai as depicted in the video game? Some historical sources confirm that Yasuke held the status of a samurai, evidenced by a stipend he received and his possession of a samurai sword. Historians believe that Yasuke may not have held a prominent position within the samurai hierarchy, but this historical figure did indeed exist.

– The chronicle of Lord Nobunaga
– Ecclesiastical History of the Isles and Kingdoms of Japan
– Journal of the samurai Matsudaira Ietada
– Letters from the Jesuit Luis Frois
– Julien Peltier, author of “Another History of the Samurai”
– Pierre-Emmanuel Bachelet, Associate Professor at ENS Lyon

This list is not exhaustive.