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Yasuke

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Yasuke was a man from Mozambique who served briefly under Oda Nobunaga. He was brought to Japan initially by Alessandro Valignano in 1579. After an incident in 1581 where Kyoto residents forced their way into a Jesuit residence in their eagerness to witness this black man firsthand, the African man was summoned by Oda Nobunaga, who wished to see/meet him himself. Granting the man some monetary sum, he dubbed him Yasuke and took him into his service. Yasuke accompanied Nobunaga into battle on at least one occasion; after Nobunaga's death, Yasuke was captured by the forces of Akechi Mitsuhide but was ultimately released. Little is known of his subsequent fate.

References

  • Leupp, Gary. "Images of Black People in Late Medieval and Early Modern Japan, 1543-1900." Japan Forum 7:1 (1995). p2.
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