Photograph by Art Streiber
Chadwick Boseman has certainly earned his action credits over the last few years as the king of the MCU’s super advanced African nation Wakanda, but the Black Panther star is heading into historical Japan next, bringing to life the historical story of Yasuke, a Portuguese Mozambique native, who rose from Jesuit slave to samurai warrior in the 16th century.
A complex relationship between Yasuke and a Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga would play out in the tumultuous backdrop of the Warring States era of Japan.
While there are no confirmed portraits of Yasuke, Nobunaga is a well known and vital part of Japanese cultural history
“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 Deadline, the project is being written by Narcos co-creator Doug Miro and is being produced by a collaboration between Erik Feig’s Picturestart, Stephen L’Heureux and his Solipsist banner, De Luca Productions and Boseman & Logan Coles’ X●ception Content.
I’m pretty sure fans of Afro Samurai (and any fan of Japanese history) will be on board here; there’s something to be said about the times where the idea of a black man earning the otherwise inclusive cultural title and honors of a Samurai would have been more than a novelty, it would have been something of a spectacle.
But it also says a lot about what the nature of Yasuke must have been, to have inspired such trust and commitment from his new peers; this ability will be a heavy burden for Boseman to represent, but I think he can dig out the requisite gravitas when he needs to.
What do you think about the story of Japan’s first black samurai being set to the big screen?