Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language, violence, and mature content.
The Yasuke Series
Damian and Rachael lay sprawled across the cramped, low oriental bed much like spilt milk. Their naked bodies lay extinct, the city on the other hand was bustling, neon lights expressed themselves through the blinds (which Damian had forgotten to close), a monumental Pikachu plastered onto a sky scraper used its height to almost peer into their hotel room. They say if you awaken to the sight of your mother, you will have a great day; Damian woke up believing he may be molested by Pikachu - he knew he was going to have an awful day. He remembered he’s in Tokyo. He carefully moving her dead arm which was across his chest as if he were playing Operation and attempted to wiped his drool of Rachael’s hair. She doesn’t have to know he thought; she will have a shower anyway. Damian’s black skin was like moonlight when illuminated by the Pikachu poster on the adjacent building. He watched the city in disgust, turning back to his naked sleeping beauty to contrast his thought of hatred to love. His idea of a trip was not flying half way around the world to eat tasteless sushi, see women painted white doing weird dances and follow preposterous etiquette. Damian came from the nation of Essex you see, his perfect vacation consisted of lying on a beach bed within eye-distance of his five-star Hilton Hotel drinking a Dry Martini with his bikini clad Anglo - Indian girlfriend.
The room was musky with the smell of sex, the completed bottles of Asahi created a Flanking Manoeuvre around the bed, as if to keep them there.
‘Its either this shitty beer or that Kase’ shit,’ he mumbled under his voice.
‘Sake’, Rachael’s voice was just as musky was the room. Damian watched her rise. Her hair was sticky with drool, to be honest it could have been anything… Her eyes, one stuck by sleep and the other by forgotten mascara and interlinked upper and lower lashes; she looked fucked. He could not bare to watch her with her make up all ruined , he turned away; for Damian always wanted his woman to look stunning; he was from Essex remember. Damian failed to notice how the yellow light blemished her skin, how her natural beauty had gone way further than whatever she had looked like on any night out. How her lips required nothing artificial, how her untouched (although gross) jet-black hair indicated her Indian heritage.
‘What’s the time?! We’ve told the home-stay we will be there for three!’,
Rachael was not much of a traveller either, but she hated the rudeness of being unpunctual. Damian looked at her, eyes as hyphen-like as possible, it all came back to him. He was getting no sex today, his nerd younger brother had forced him to visit Mount Koya’s Grave of Oda Nobunaga and to prove he had been, a selfie was required in front of the shrine.
Hungover as dog-shit they stumbled hand in hand nowhere. The cab was taking them. Damian wasn’t a man of maps or Google Earth for that matter, or else he would’ve known that it was quicker to walk. The trip itinerary had been texted to him by his brother:
Tokyo - Osaka - Namba station - Gokurakubashi station - Cable car from Paradise Bridge.
Between Osaka and Namba station they were supposed to stop to eat at the home-stay but Damian was having none of it, he did not care about the money he had paid, he refused to stay in someone's home, especially in a place like Asia! Rachael did not put up much of a protest as she wanted to get this over and done with to be back in time for the new season of TOWIE.
‘We will get this done and fly home from Osaka’s airport, I’m not staying another day in Japan’,he said while peering down at his map as if it were algebra. When alighting at Gokurakubashi station he finally saw a glimpse of Mount Koya,
‘looks like Snowdonia, just a bit more green’.
Rachael was not even looking, her interested laid in a crisp packet she could've sworn was Walkers but it said Lays. She was flabbergasted.
Somewhere in Osaka a family waited behind their sliding doors with close to twenty dishes cooked ready for consumption. The children of the family waited excitedly to meet the people staying at their home.
The cable car allowed views boasting of clean-cut Japanese countryside, the level land looked years away from that altitude but no one was watching. When they reached the shrine, a quick selfie was taken, he saw a Shinto priest peering at him and remembered how much of a celebrity he was in Japan because of his skin.
‘I must be the only black guy to have step foot here, this shit is out of the way’.
Little did Damian know he would not be flying home because of that phrase. Little did he know, he had changed his life forever. Little did he know, his semen and drool had created a fun mixture baby in Rachaels hair. The Kannushi turned around in fury,
‘Do you know who built this shrine?’.
Damian was offended that someone called him out, he was also intrigued that a man in rural Japan could speak English.
‘You are certainly not the first black man here, a man of moonlight built this shrine’.
Damian was finally interested, Rachael was still thinking about the crisps.
‘Who was he?’
‘I will tell you when the the wind dies down, sit down and have some Sake’ for now’.
Damian sat down, Rachael was checking her snapchat.
He continued, the wind slowed, ‘his name was Yasuke - The Black Samurai’.
Yasuke' - The Mute Child
Two Children, One Man.
1554 – Mozambique, Lake Malawi
Issufo’s father, much like other members of the Yao Tribe; left his village to live in his wife’s village. By Lake Malawi, the breeze at dawn was a spectacle to see; the storks fishing for their young, crocodiles bathing with their families in the sun, cheetahs cooling themselves in the branches of tall trees further up the cliffs, elephants splashing about in the water, Issufo playing cat and mouse with his parents. He falls over. Both his parents run to his aid and blow on the scratch on his knee.
Women controlled the society, men were tasked with going out hunting whilst the Chieftess’ would tend to more political matters. Issufo would sit on Chieftess Heda’s lap playing with the straws protruding from her elaborate outfit, he was five years old. Being rocked by the beloved leader, he playfully smiled across to his mother whom smiled back; her smile illuminated the engravings on her dark skin, her smile stretched from one side of her face to the other and her eyes glistened like Lake Malawi did before the sun receded back to its realm. It was the last time he would see his mother’s smile.
Under the Baobab tree, Heda questioned the unusual man who had come seeking a proposal at the village. All the women stood around the man, one woman passed around her deer antler water pipe as the man spoke: ‘please, just listen to what I have to say, times are changing – the old gods do nothing for your illnesses,’.
Heda retorted with ‘ah, a religion of peace, but we are already peaceful, it will make no difference, but can I ask, why the circumcision? I don’t want to hurt our little ones.’ The man responded with his argument, explaining that the pain was momentary and questioned why the women would engrave themselves if it was painful. Chieftess Heda had no answer.
Under Issufo’s straw outfit he was terrified, he didn’t understand the procedure that was going to take place.
‘You’re a brave little boy Issufo, lead the other children’, said his mother with her head placed onto his. Issufo trotted into the hut and was told to lie down, when the man took an instrument out, Issufo saw something sharp through the straw and darted across the hut, out into the tall, green grass. He kept running, running through the elephant grass, as far as his little feet would take him. He couldn’t really see where, but he ran. He reached a cliff edge and fell into the Lake, the current took little Issufo downstream, he floated in his straw outfit.
The villagers searched for days.
1555 – North Eastern Ethiopia, Dalol, Danakil Depression
‘Yasufé, throw me my sword!’, shouted his father from across the bush. Yasufé panicked, his little hands scurried through the crimson dust, he picked up the sword and threw it across to his father. The hippopotamus skin making up the handle scraped his finger as he did so, he began to bleed from his hand. At the tender age of six, his life was going to end; written out of the mists of time. He turned to the mauled corpse to his left, what was once his mother lay ripped to shreds. The thread he tugged at by his mother’s hip as his little feet would follow her around had been torn clean off. He wrapped it around his little wrist and lay next to his mother in a foetal position sucking his thumb weeping.
Not a cloud in the sky, the Ethiopian heat scorched the plains, rocks cracked in the boiling air. The natural chemicals surrounding the hot springs created a wave of colours: shades of green, blue, yellow and orange – which reflected off his fathers two sickle swords. One in each hand with the base of the swords at stomach level, Yasufé watched as his father stood against three lions like the king he was. The lions were most likely descendants of ones which had escaped the Roman Empire, for they behaved like gladiatorial creatures; more ferocious than nature intended.
He peered over his mothers twitching corpse, his father lashed out his right arm, slicing a cat’s throat; blood gushed down onto the dirt and ran through the Earth. He dropped the sword, with the same right arm as he reached for his club which was tied to his right knee, he caught the other beasts jaw with ferocious power. The dislocation of that creature’s jaw echoed across the plains and so did its whimpers as it lay on the ground, for it was merely hungry but now it was beaten, dying. The third lion pounced onto his father, ripping a new hole into his throat every chance it got, similarly the warrior sliced at the lion’s stomach repeatedly. Yasufe lay back with his mother, he could not watch his father’s dying light, nor could he continue watching this massacre.
Lying in a pool of dried blood, surrounded by three dead lions and his two dead parents, Yasufé, the little child lay motionless.
Days later, a party of mule herders shoo away the vultures and flies to scavenge the corpses and skin the lions for hide. ‘This quality of this hide is awful, it’s got holes everywhere’, said the older gentleman. The men stripped Yasufé’s body for clothing, but when one of them placed a hand on red thread laced across his arm, Yasufé covered it with his other arm.
The men were astonished, ‘Who is this child?’.
1563 – Mombasa Coast, Kenya
Alessandro Valignano, a Portuguese Jesuit missionary walked up and down a line of black men, chained by their ankles. In the middle stands a man, a man with skin like moonlight, a jaw stronger than Mount Kili of Tanzania, arms defined to perfection. The man had a fierce look in his eyes, although chained; this man looked free.
‘Your name?’, questioned Valignano.
There was no response.
‘Very well, I will name you Izaque; after a patriarch from the Book of Genesis’.
And with that, they set sail on old missionary ship which now transported pilgrims, travellers and people running away from their past. He sat and watched the other passengers, he clenched the thread on his arm and kept his straw hat close to him. Izaque did not know where he was going, but he took pleasure in looking at a woman dressed in a red saree. On her back was a sickle sword and shield, she turned over to Izaque and smiled. Her bindi was exotic to him, he smiled back – she looked like his mother.
1579 – Off the Coast of Japan
Izaque peered out to the landmass. Japan. He was excited to help the Alessandro (who had been mentoring him for years) convert this nation to Christianity. Alessandro Valignano watched Izaque’s eyes glisten, he could never have known what would become of Yasuke.
2019 - Mount Koya, Japan
Damian and Rachel sat, wide eyed – gulping down at the Saké as the Kannushi continued the tale of Yasuke – The Black Samurai.