American actor Chadwick Boseman has been picked for the role of Yasuke, the first black man samurai who served under Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in 16th century Japan. According to history, Yasuke was the first black man to set foot on Japanese soil. He was a native of Portuguese Mozambique who was brought to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries. Yasuke arrived to Japan in 1579 in the service of Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano,
His arrival aroused the interest of Nobunaga, a ruthless warlord seeking to unite a fractured Japan under his banner. A complex relationship developed between the two men as Yasuke earned Nobunaga’s friendship, respect and ultimately, the honor, swords and title of samurai.
Boseman speaking on his new role said: “The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai. That’s not just an action movie, that’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it.” According to Blackfilm.com, Erik Feig’s Picturestart teamed up with Mike De Luca and his De Luca Productions banner, Stephen L’Heureux and his Solipsist banner, and Boseman and Logan Coles’ X●ception Content to produce a film adaptation of Yasuke.