Goodreads Monday: African Samurai

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where we randomly select a book from our Goodreads To Be Read list and share it with the world. It’s hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners, so be sure to link back to her site so that we can all see what everyone plans to read!



African Samurai: The True Story of a Legendary Black Samurai in Feudal Japan
by Thomas Lockley and Geoffery Girard
Historical Nonfiction
Expected Publication Date: April 30, 2019, by Hanover Square Press

From Goodreads: Warrior.



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 four hundred 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 sixteenth 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.


I’ve seen this book here and there recently, but when Steve Donoghue gave it a glowing review on his BookTube Channel, I decided I should give it a try. I mean, Japanese History and an African Samurai? Sounds like it could be amazing!

6 thoughts on “Goodreads Monday: African Samurai

  1. I saw it mentioned in the Book Report magazine Barnes & Noble often give out. It took me by surprise because I’ve never before heard of an African samurai, so I immediately placed it on hold at my library. I hope to read it in June.

  2. I saw this book recently on Instagram (bookstagram) in a friend’s story and immediately looked it up. It sounds completely fascinating and I can’t wait to get my hands on it

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