Hello! Thank you for Tuning in to Green Tea anime. Here is 10 random facts about Yasuke that really interest me. if you don’t like to read or just prefer a video instead please check out my youtube channel GreenTea to watch the top 10. With the introduction out the way let’s start!
The show’s protagonist Yasuke is based on a real historical figure. In 1579, an African man named Yasuke arrived in Japan and became a kashin for Oda Nobunaga. There is some debate about Yasuke’s country of origin. Some believe he was from Sudan, while others believe he may have been from Ethiopia or Mozambique. The show depicts how Yasuke was treated in Japan and retells the history of Nobunaga’s seppuku.
Some of the Japanese characters in the show define Yasuke by his skin color, calling him “The Black Boatman.” According to history, when Yasuke arrived in Japan in the 16th Century, Nobunaga thought Yasuke’s skin was covered in ink and ordered him to strip and scrub his skin. The anime retells this humiliating and problematic moment, which may make some viewers uncomfortable.
Yasuke‘s music was created by Flying Lotus, an American producer/rapper. The soundtrack feels ambient and epic, but it’s not without its unique charms. The music often shifts between synthesized jazz-like percussions, lo-fi, rap and ambient R&B styles of music. There’s so many nods to different genres that it’s hard to define succinctly. It’s artistic and exciting. The soundtrack stands out as an essential aspect of Yasuke that makes the show what it is.
The Sengoku Period of Japan was one of its most well known historical eras, starting with the collapse of the previous feudal system and characterised by constant civil war among different Daimyō (warlords), as well as the rise of Ikkō-ikki, or peasant factions under militant Buddhist leadership. During this time Nobunaga successfully united many of the warring states and violently suppressing insurgence, some of which was portrayed in the series, specifically in his conflict with the Iga Province, home of Hattori Hanzō. This was continued after his death by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of his former retainers and the second Great Unifier.
Seppuku, or harakiri, was ritual suicide by disembowelment that was a well-known practice reserved for samurai, usually in order to take control of one’s own death and avoid capture by the enemy. Seppuku among the wives and female family members of samurai was also practiced, though it involved cutting the arteries of the neck. The kaishakunin was the samurai’s second, expected to end their suffering through partial decapitation after they made the cut. In the series, Oda Nobunaga commits seppuku in the opening scene, killing himself in Honnō-ji temple with Yasuke as his kaishakunin. Historically, Oda Nobunaga did indeed die by seppuku in Honnō-ji after being betrayed by his general, Mitsuhide. However, some details were changed for the series. According to accounts, Nobunaga’s kaishakunin was not Yasuke, but his lover and page, Ranmaru, who also set fire to the temple and died protecting Nobunaga’s remains. Yasuke was, however, present for Nobunaga’s death, some sources indicating he may have ensured Nobunaga’s remains were not taken, but supposedly surviving the encounter.
Though there were many extremely anachronistic elements in the Yasuke series, the presence of foreigners operating in Japan was not one of these. The Beninese shaman Achoja can be explained by Portuguese slave trade with royals of the then Dahomey Kingdom forming a ship route between the lands when Portugal engaged in active trade with the Japanese. As for the bear woman Nikita, whuke there are no direct references to a Russian presence in Japan until the 1800s, outside trade was common enough with Europeans that it isn’t impossible, especially given Russia’s proximity to Japan in comparison to other European nations. Japan would eventually adopt an isolationist stance under the Tokugawa Shogunate, barring almost all foreigners from entering Japan, a practice that would not be ended for a little over 200 years.
Hattori Hanzō is a well-known figure in history, a ninja who commanded a 200-men strong unit of Iga warriors that were said to have supernatural abilities. He was even known as Oni no Hanzō, or Demon Hanzō, for his fearlessness in battle. In the series, Hanzō is named directly as the reason Nobunaga’s son, Oda Nobukatsu, failed in his attempts to overtake Iga Province, though his role in this conflict is not fully indicated in history. The character of Natsumaru also hailed from Iga Province, its harsh conquest motivating her to act against Nobunaga in the series.
The presence of the Catholic priest Abraham in the Yasuke series as one of the first antagonists is backed by Christianity’s introduction in the 1500s through Portuguese missionaries, and a fairly well-documented presence of Christianity in Japan. In the time Oda Nobunaga was at the height of his power, he was welcoming to Jesuits in particular due to his interest in open trade and Western culture, though he never converted to Christianity. He even supported the establishment of the first Christian church in Kyoto in 1576. One of Nobunaga’s sons, Oda Nobuhide, was himself Christian, taking on the name “Peter” as his Christian name.
The main antagonist of the Yasuke series is Yami no Daimyо̄, or “dark lord”, who took power after the death of Oda Nobunaga. The Daimyо̄’s design appears to reference spiders with her many webs, which aligns with old stories about spider demons in Japanese folklore. At one point in the show, when Saki and Yasuke are forced to face off against the Daimyо̄, she also takes the form of centipedes – another popular monster in Japanese folklore.
Natsumaru, a warrior from the Iga Province, doesn’t have a specific historical counterpart in history, but represents female warriors well-known at the time called Onna-musha – female warriors who fought in battle alongside their male counterparts. In the series, Natsumaru acts as Nobunaga’s onna-musha and is one of his “seven samurai” (which was not part of history, but a nod to the famous Kurosawa film), having proven herself as a skilled fighter.
That was my top ten random facts about Yasuke that I found interesting hopefully you found something interesting about these as well if not let me know. But if you have any facts please feel free to share in the comments below thank you for reading!
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