The main character of Netflix’s work, “Black Samurai,” is a real person. I can’t stop stimulating my imagination without adding elements of magic and mecha
The original anime “Yasuke”, which Netflix has started distributing, is a collection of fantasy products. Set in Japan in the 16th century, robots, witch doctors, evil missionaries, zombie samurai, and strange villains that transcend time and space are mixed up. A lot of blood flows, and a strange interpretation of Bushido is explained. It’s more like a simmered dish than a historical one.
Yasuke, who became the title, is a “black samurai” who lived in the Warring States period and is a real person. Its life is really strange and interesting. It makes me wonder why executive producer LeSean Thomas and Japanese animation studio MAPPA bothered to add elements of magic and mecha. It may be a painstaking measure to dramatize the story. Yasuke has appeared in novels and anime, but all of them were inspired by the author based on relatively scarce historical materials. The actual Yasuke seems to have been born in East Africa in the 1550s. He was kidnapped and sold as a slave when he was a child, but later trained in martial arts and moved to Japan in 1579 as an escort for an Italian missionary of the Jesuits. In 1581, Yasuke was referred to as Nobunaga Oda, a military commander aiming to unify the world. Nobunaga, who loves Nanban culture, was intrigued by Yasuke’s dark skin. There is also an anecdote that he tried to scrape it off, suspecting that he had painted it with ink. Nobunaga, who liked Yasuke, became his servant and eventually gave him a mansion and a vassal to become a formal samurai. Akechi Mitsuhide, who betrayed Nobunaga in the “Honnoji Incident” and made him seppuku, returned to the missionary without killing Yasuke for some reason. Perhaps they tried to get the Europeans on their side. The recorded footsteps of Yasuke cease here. ■ Although there are few records of appearance in Japanese and American popular culture, some Jesuits mention Yasuke in Japanese memoirs. “Shincho Kouki” written by Gyuichi Ota, who served Nobunaga, also mentions the existence of Yasuke, but it only appears as a supporting role to emphasize the image of Nobunaga, who is curious and generous. For about 300 years after that, the story of Yasuke was almost forgotten in Japan. Yasuke was introduced to modern readers in the 1968 children’s book “Kurosuke” written by Yoshio Kurusu and illustrated by Genjiro Mita. Inspired by the African national liberation movement of the same era, Kurusu criticized the imperialism of the European countries that divided Africa in the postscript. Yasuke’s feelings of nostalgia for his homeland overlap with the newly-born African nationalism (By the way, even in the United States, Yasuke is a character in children’s books.