In the late 16th century a young warrior from Africa, Yasuke(possibly Yusefe), from the area now known Mozambique, became a trusted member and samurai in the inner circle of the Sengoku Period warlord Oda Nobunaga (1534 – 1582).
It is clearly documented that he participated in the 1582 Battle of Tenmokuzan and the Honno-ji Incident, a decisive battle that lead to the unification of Japan. He is also said to have manned a cannon at the Battle of Yamazaki, the incident in which the betrayal of Nobunaga was avenged, and his dream of a unified Japan was realized.
Yasuke was his Japanese name and he is mentioned in the 1581 letters of the Jesuits Luis Frois and Lorenço Mexia and in the 1582 Annual Report of the Jesuit Mission in Japan.
The “Lord Nobunaga Chronicle” (Shinchōkōki) has a description of Yasuke’s first meeting with Nobunaga. The compiled chronicle consists of 16 volumes and is considered “mostly factual” and “reliable”.
A June, 2013 investigative report by Mariko Miyaji (Mariko Miyachi) for the Japanese program Discovery of the World’s Mysteries yielded information that bolstered the legend and Yasuke and confirmed the depth of trust and friendship between he and Nobunaga.
Our research has been extensive this past 3 years with research assistance in Zanzibar, Mozambique and Japan. We need your help to make this film.
Chicago-based producer Floyd Webb and Tokyo-based producer Deborah Ann DeSnoo (Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire, 2004) have formed a partnership to re-capture the lost histories of global cross-cultural interaction in the 200 year old trade culture of East Africa, India, Asia and Japan, the 16th century encroachment of Jesuit missionaries and their imperial designs, and the forging of a unified Japanese nation.
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