African Samurai

The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan
Narrated by: Gary Furlong
Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (410 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Warrior. Samurai. Legend.

The remarkable life of history’s first foreign-born samurai and his astonishing journey from Northeast Africa to the heights of Japanese society.

When Yasuke arrived in Japan in the late 1500s, he had already traveled much of the known world. Kidnapped as a child, he had ended up a servant and bodyguard to the head of the Jesuits in Asia, with whom he traversed India and China, learning multiple languages as he went. His arrival in Kyoto, however, literally caused a riot. Most Japanese people had never seen an African man before, and many of them saw him as the embodiment of the black-skinned (in local tradition) Buddha. Among those who were drawn to his presence was Lord Nobunaga, head of the most powerful clan in Japan, who made Yasuke a samurai in his court. Soon, he was learning the traditions of Japan’s martial arts and ascending the upper echelons of Japanese society.

In the 400 years since, Yasuke has been known in Japan largely as a legendary, perhaps mythical figure. Now, African Samurai presents the never-before-told biography of this unique figure of the 16th century, one whose travels between countries, cultures, and classes offers a new perspective on race in world history and a vivid portrait of life in medieval Japan.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.  

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard (P)2019 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not worth finishing

When I got this book I’d hoped that it would be a historically based novel about Yasuke. Instead it is filled with lore and history of the christian (Protestant and Catholic) attempt to convert Japan. As there is little information about 弥助 Yasuke the title is misleading. I returned the book and hope to find a better researched one in the future.

29 people found this helpful

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An Interesting Story

I had never heard of Yasuke until word got around of a motion picture in the works. I did some preliminary research on the man. The more I dug, the more interesting the story became. It is hard to separate the attempted ‘colonization’ of Japan by the Catholic Church via the Jesuits as Yasuke’s Japan story is intertwined with them from the beginning. The political intrigue, the backstabbing, and ultimate betrayals are woven in the story of the many warlords, vassals, and peasants that filled Yasuke’s 16th century world. I like the way the authors worked to bring in a variety of different historical elements into the story of Yasuke. I had to take the legend chapters with a grain of salt since the authors had no further first hand accounts of Yasuke, just stories of black samurai or merchants that fit in the same timeline as Yasuke. As the Portuguese were heavy slave traders, it is not hard to imagine that more than a few men (no women?) of African origins found their way to Japanese shores and integrated into their society in a variety of ways. I see this book as one of many sources of the story of Yasuke. A good first step.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

African Samurai

a great book with a lot of unknown history and facts, the connection between Africa, Portugal, Japan, India in ancient times is very interesting and important.

3 people found this helpful

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A good yarn...

A good yarn of unknown history. A little thin on certain details, though i know this was a long long time ago. Also great details that I didn't know about early japan. Solid narration.

3 people found this helpful

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Yasuke, an historical account

Great story about some of Japan's history told through the account of an African Samurai. Yasuke's life was very fascinating.

2 people found this helpful

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Worth listening too because the story was exciting!

Audio books can be difficult because if the narration is not balanced enough, then it can either be boring or too over the top! The narrator achieve a good middle ground- keeping the listener tuned in without boring or scaring off. The writing itself supersized information- sometimes too much information. Also be weary of the agenda from the writer to over emphasize gay culture in the samurai & royal life of feudal Japan. Otherwise well done. Intriguing, full of action, violence, detail! Well researched, the author puts together a story based off various details and true strides to create a collage idea of what the African Samurai would have been- Yasuke of the Dinga tribe!

2 people found this helpful

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Extremely interesting

It is a very interesting and thorough book. Provides a lot of information about not just one man, but the national history that he was part of.

2 people found this helpful

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Engulfing

This book draws you in with not only a great story but amazing historical fact.

1 person found this helpful

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The story of a legendary African in Japan!

This is a must read for history enthusiasts, Japanese culture enthusiasts, and especially Black people!

1 person found this helpful

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Incredible tale!!

Very compelling! I enjoyed the book and left me wanting to know more about this era and time

1 person found this helpful