Chadwick Boseman has just landed an epic new role. The Black Panther star is set to play Yasuke, the first African samurai in Japanese history, Deadline reports.
“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.”
According to a biography about Yasuke’s life by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard, the famed warrior was originally stolen from his village in Portuguese Mozambique by slavers in the 16th century.
African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan tells the story of how Yasuke eventually ended up in 1570s Japan as an indentured bodyguard and valet of powerful Portuguese Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano. The missionary gave Yasuke to the warlord Oda Nobunaga as “a weapon bearer and novelty.” And it was during this time with Nobunaga that Yasuke was awarded the prestigious status of samurai.
“A complex relationship developed between the two men as Yasuke earned Nobunaga’s friendship, respect—and ultimately, the honor, swords and title of samurai,” Deadline writes.
We can’t wait to see this!