Assassin’s Creed Shadows does not promote wokism with inclusion of a black samurai

The new game Assassin's Creed Shadows found himself entangled in a small controversy, due to the presence of a samurai of African origin. However, historical references show that this Yasuke really existed.

The apostles of Gamergate must have had their vision blurred when they discovered the first trailer forAssassin's Creed Shadows. In this future episode developed by Ubisoft, we will be able to play two characters: Naoe, a female shinobi, and Yasuke, a samurai of African origin. It was enough for a section of Internet users to accuse the game of giving pride of place to wokism. And yet, Yasuke really existed. Even if we know little about him (his real name, in particular).


If you type “Yasuke samurai” into a search engine, like Google, you will come across articles recounting his story. There are also books about him, and he has inspired other works of fiction, such as manga Afro Samurai. And since many elements of his life remain vague, the screenwriters ofAssassin's Creed Shadows can arrange the story according to the needs of their fiction. A godsend for them.

Assassin's Creed Shadows // Source: Ubisoft
Yasuke, the protagonist ofAssassin's Creed Shadows. // Source: Ubisoft

Who is Yasuke, the “black samurai”?

Upon arriving in Japan in 1579, Yasuke was a slave serving Alessandro Valignano, a Jesuit missionary. It was during a meeting with Oda Nobugana that Yasuke's destiny changed. Fascinated by this individual with black skin and impressive muscles, the most powerful man in Japan made him a servant. Note that his rank as a samurai has never really been confirmed. Some writings rather indicate a status as a weapon bearer. One thing is certain: he was close to the daimyo.

Ubisoft has certainly reshaped Yasuke's story to its liking (it officially makes him a samurai, a priori very powerful). But we already know that the story ofAssassin's Creed Shadows begins in 1579, coinciding with the arrival of the real Yasuke in Japan. Size precision: Yasuke is the first hero of a Assassin's Creed inspired by a real person.

Naoe, for his part, is a 100% fictional character, but whose father existed — Fujibayashi Nagato, leader of the Iga clan and enemy of Nobunaga. Naoe will also seek revenge on Nobunaga, who razed his village. Yasuke will actually be his opponent at the start of the game – but the two will eventually work together.


This is not the first time that Ubisoft has drawn on historical figures to fuel the casting of its games, with adaptations to serve its narrative. In the Ezio Auditore trilogy, the hero was helped by Leonardo Da Vinci, an impromptu genius inventor. In Assassin's Creed Unity, based on the French Revolution, Maximilien de Robespierre is one of the villains. And in Assassin's Originswe kill Julius Caesar himself.