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This article contains content from pre-release sources that may or may not be reflective of canon upon release. This article therefore likely contains spoilers.

"You are still a frog in a well who knows nothing of the sea. The oceans fill with new ships, but they all come from the same river: greed, power, vengeance."
―Yasuke to Fujibayashi Naoe[src]-[m]

Yasuke (弥助; born c. 1555) was an African samurai who served the Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga. In 1579, the Portuguese Empire brought him as a slave to the port city of Sakai.[2][3] According to the Chronicle of Nobunaga, he entered into Oda's service a few years later after capturing his attention as the first African man he had ever met and impressing him with his strong stature and intelligence.[3]

In 1581, he invaded Iga Province on behalf of his lord, devastating the region.[2][3] Despite having destroyed Fujibayashi Naoe's home, Yasuke later allied himself with the young Iga Assassin, assisting her in not just intelligence-gathering but assassinations as well.[4]

Personality and traits

Yasuke was a thoughtful and intelligent man, who was able to learn the Japanese people's language, customs, and martial arts quickly upon arriving in their country. His respect for the local culture enabled his adaptation to his new environment.[2] These qualities, alongside his physical prowess and aptitude in combat, were what earned him Oda Nobunaga's respect.[3] His down-to-earth sensibilities complemented the fiery and passionate temperament of his later ally Fujibayashi Naoe.[2]

Having personally experienced societies worlds apart from another, Yasuke nonetheless observed that they all shared common features no matter their cultural differences. Whether it was the world of his homeland, that of his Portuguese slavers, or that of the Japanese warlords, self-interest, power politics, and violence seemed to be the universal language. It was Naoe who challenged him to discover through his own choices that a world not dictated by these features was possible.[4]

Skills and equipment

On the battlefield, Yasuke was a powerful warrior capable of slaying multiple enemies with ease. Apart from his mastery of the katana, his great physical strength permitted his use of the kanabō while he was also skilled in the arquebus.[3][5]

Behind the scenes

Yasuke is a historical figure who will star as one of the two protagonists of the 2024 video game Assassin's Creed: Shadows. He is being portrayed by the Zimbabwean actor Tongayi Chirisa.




  1. In the Shinchō Kōki, a chronicle of Oda Nobunaga, Yasuke was described as being roughly 26 years old when he met the warlord in 1581.