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The Original Afro Samurai

Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the
Black History Quiz
The Original Afro Samurai
By Jim Stroud • Issue #64 • View online
Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures.

Jim Kelly in "Afro Samurai"
Jim Kelly in "Afro Samurai"
The concept of an “Afro Samurai,” a black swordsman skilled in the ways of a traditional Japanese Samurai has been a part of pop culture for years. Jim Kelly starred in an “Afro Samurai” movie in 1976. A reboot is in the works starring Common. A popular Anime, also called “Afro Samurai,” is voiced by Samuel Jackson.
Did you know that a real-life Afro Samurai really existed?
When feudal Japan’s most powerful warlord Nobunaga Oda met a certain black slave-turned-retainer, in 1581, he believed the man was a guardian demon or “Daikokuten,” a god of prosperity usually represented by black statues in temples. Oda tried to rub the pigment off the African’s skin, believing it was black ink. Once convinced it was real, he immediately threw a feast in his honor.
In an era racked by political espionage, merciless assassinations and ninja attacks, this African was seen as an asset. Nobunaga soon made him a samurai – even providing him with his own servant, house and stipend, according to Jesuit records.
Do you know the name of the original afro samurai?
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Black History Quiz Answer
Known as Yasuke, the man was a warrior who reached the rank of samurai under the rule of Oda Nobunaga - a powerful 16th Century Japanese feudal lord who was the first of the three unifiers of Japan.
In 1579, his arrival in Kyoto, the capital at the time, caused such a sensation that people climbed over one another to get a glimpse of him with some being crushed to death, according to historian Lawrence Winkler.
Within a year, Yasuke had joined the upper echelons of Japan’s warrior class, the samurai. Before long, he was speaking Japanese fluently and riding alongside Nobunaga in battle.
For further study…
African samurai: The enduring legacy of a black warrior in feudal Japan
The Amazing Story of Yasuke: The Forgotten African Samurai | Ancient Origins
Yasuke: The mysterious African samurai - BBC News
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Jim Stroud

Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures. New issues post on Sundays. | www.blackhistoryquiz.com

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