‘Black Panther’ Star Chadwick Boseman Tapped To Play The First Black Samurai

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Black Samurai
Chadwick Boseman arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Actor Chadwick Boseman is known for his incredible gift of bringing iconic characters to life on the big screen. Now the actor has added the role of Yasuke, the first African samurai in Japanese history, to his wheelhouse, Deadline reported.

Widely known for his epic role as King T’challa aka ‘Black Panther’ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Boseman has also flawlessly portrayed prominent historical figures like Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown.

Boseman said he is honored to include someone as important as Yasuke on that list.

“The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai … That’s not just an action movie, that’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it,” Boseman told Deadline.

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According to HuffPost, a biography written by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard entitled “African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan” tells Yasuke’s story.

The book states Yasuke was originally taken by slavers from his village near the Nile and sent to India to serve the Portuguese. In 1579, he was taken to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries, who gave him to the warlord Oda Nobunaga. According to Deadline, “a complex relationship developed between the two men as Yasuke earned Nobunaga’s friendship, respect — and ultimately, the honor, swords and title of samurai.”

The role will likely increase Boseman’s appeal even more with Asian audiences as he was named the most popular actor in China in 2017.

There have been other non-Asian Samurais since Yasuke, reported HuffPost. However, Yasuke was the first known Black man to set foot on Japanese soil and achieve the honor of Samurai, Black Film reported.


About Isheka N. Harrison

Isheka N. Harrison is an experienced writer, editor, educator, media and communications professional who thoroughly enjoys telling people’s stories. A former editor of the South Florida Times, Isheka has been featured as a speaker for New Florida Majority’s “Black Women in Media” Panel for Women’s History Month, served as a judge for JM Lexus’ 2018 African American Achievers Awards and named one of “South Florida’s 40 Under 40 Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow” by Legacy Magazine/Miami Herald. A native of Miami, Isheka's work has appeared in notable local and national media outlets including: ESSENCE Magazine, Upscale Magazine, The Miami Herald, The Miami Times and more. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Relations from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Clark Atlanta University. Isheka is also a member of several para-professional organizations including the Black Professionals Network (BPN), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) South Florida and ColorComm. To learn more about her story, you can connect with Isheka on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/ishekah or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ishekah. To pitch her any tips or ideas for articles, email her at iharrison@moguldom.com.