My final year project 'African Samurai' retells the lost tale of Yasuke, the African slave who after arriving in Feudal Japan, quickly rose through the ranks, becoming history’s first foreign Samurai Warrior. Despite having fought alongside Japan’s most powerful warlord Oda Nobunaga and attaining a position of the highest honour, unlike his peers, Yasuke is a forgotten figure with no registry of his armour. In dedication to the historical figure, African Samurai conceptualises the traditional display of Japanese Samurai armour through my experience as a British-Nigerian; taking a contemporary diasporic approach in telling Yasuke's story. The costume, displayed on a traditional Japanese wooden stand and storage chest, consists of a complete set of armour made of Raffia straw. Made entirely from natural fibres used in Africa and Japan, 'African Samurai' puts new life into Yasuke’s story through the creation of a suit of armour that is unique to him - retelling his story, as well as that of the clan in which he fought.
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