A Nanban group traveling in Japan
According to Histoire Ecclesiastique Des Isles Et Royaumes Du Japon, written by François Solier of the Society of Jesus in 1627, Yasuke was likely from Mozambique. Solier’s account may, however, have been an assumption, as it was written so long after the event. There is no surviving contemporary account that corroborates it.
This would be consistent with other accounts of Africans from Mozambique in Japan. According to Fujita Midori, the first African people who came to Japan were Mozambican. They reached Japan in 1546 as shipmates or slaves who served Portuguese captain Jorge Alvarez (not to be confused with another explorer of the same name who died in 1521).
A 2013 investigation by Discovery of the World’s Mysteries (世界ふしぎ発見), a popular television program, suggested that Yasuke was a Makua named Yasufe. This name seems to be derived from the more popular Mozambican name, Issufo. This investigation did not necessarily meet journalistic standards, and the program provided little evidence for its conclusions. The Makua are not documented as having had any significant contact until 1585 with the Portuguese based in Mozambique.
Yasuke may have been a member of the Yao people, or from the more inland area of Mozambique. Yao people were just coming into contact with the Portuguese at the time, which might account for his name: that is, Yao added to the common Japanese male name suffix of suke (Yao-suke).
Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Titus 2:8
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Col 4:6
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