Real-Life Tale of the First Black Samurai to Be Made Into Hollywood Movie

Yasuke, believed to be the first black samurai ever, is about to be featured in his own full-length action film adaptation.

The planned movie, which will be produced by Mike De Luca and Stephen L’Heureux under Lionsgate Entertainment, will depict the story of the first non-Japanese samurai who served under the Japanese ruler Oda Nobunaga during the 14th century, Deadline reports. 

According to historical accounts, Yasuke may have been a Muslim who originated from Mozambique,  Portugal, Angola or Ethiopia.

Being the first black person that most in Japan had ever seen, his arrival caused a commotion wherever he went. A lot of people were reportedly caught in awe by his presence, including the warlord Nobunaga.

Nobunaga would later take him under his wing, ultimately becoming one of his most prized warriors.

“Black Samurai is based on the true story of an African whose journey to Japan comes with conflicting background stories,” the film’s scriptwriter Gregory Widen was quoted as saying.

“The one I’ve chosen is that he was a slave soldier after the fall of Abysinnian Bengal, a black kingdom run by Ethiopians. He was sold into slavery and found himself in the care of Alessandro Valignano, an Italian missionary. They formed a bond, and when there were complications in Rome, he was sent to Japan and took Yasuke with him. There he met Oda Nobunaga, who was interested in all Western things, and through a series of bizarre events, the Jesuit left Yasukie with the warlord.”

While there is very little information known about the black samurai, there is undeniably enough material to work on for a compelling and epic story.

No other details, including the target release and the preferred cast, have been made known yet.

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