Weird History The Remarkable Story Of An African Slave Who Rose To Japan's Highest Honor Of Samurai  

Rebecca High

Though 16th-century Japan was largely isolated from the rest of the world, Portuguese ships regularly brought slaves from Africa to the island nation's shores. This video introduces one of those slaves who ended up in Japan, telling the incredible story of a foreigner who became a legendary samurai.

Not much is known about his origins, but Yasuke may have been born in Mozambique, Africa. When he arrived in Japan, he was among the first black people locals had ever seen, and he quickly rose to local prominence.

His master, a Jesuit priest, ultimately led Yasuke to a nobleman, Lord Nobunaga, who was impressed enough with the slave's intelligence and physicality to provide him with his first step into the Japanese elite.

Yasuke went on to do unprecedented things as a former slave and man of color in Japan, battling for honor even after his cause was lost. Watch this video for details on the remarkable life of a slave-turned-samurai whose story will make an epic movie someday.