The king of Wakanda is now set to portray the first African samurai to swing a sword in Japan.
Two years ago came news that a film about Yasuke, the reputed first black samurai to serve a warlord in Japan, was in the works. Now, that film has found its star.
“The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai,” Boseman said. “That’s not just an action movie, that’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it.”
A script for the film is being written by Doug Miro, the co-creator of the Netflix series Narcos. The script was previously being written by Highlander creator Gregory Widen. Mike De Luca and Stephen L’Heureux will serve as the film’s producers.
According to various sources, Yasuke was likely from Portuguese Mozambique and served Nobunaga from 1581 to 1582. When Valignano arrived in Japan with Yasuke, the latter’s presence reportedly caused some commotion. Black people at that time were not discriminated but admired, with many depictions of Buddha being portrayed as black in Japanese temples. Yasuke’s skin color became of interest to Nobunaga, who thought Yasuke was covered in black ink (and even made him scrub himself to prove he was black).