6 Little-Known Facts About Yasuke, the All-Powerful Black Samurai of Feudal Japan


He Was Allowed to Dine with Lord Nobunaga, a Very Prestigious Honor
Yasuke enjoyed moderate fame as a high-ranking samurai with his own katana, or traditional Japanese sword. Unlike other officials of the military order, the Black samurai was regularly invited to dine with warlord Nobunaga. Such an honor was reserved for a select few.

His Career As an All-Powerful Samurai Was Short-Lived
Unfortunately, Yasuke’s time as a powerful samurai lasted only a short year (1581-1582), thanks to the successful overthrow of Nobunaga by one of his former generals, Akechi Mitsuhide, in June of 1582. As a result, the warlord and his supporters were forced to perform the ritual suicide of “seppuku.”

Nobunaga’s successor apparently took pity on the Black samurai and spared him from performing the ritual.

Yasuke was returned to Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano and lived in obscurity until his death.

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