6 Little-Known Facts About Yasuke, the All-Powerful Black Samurai of Feudal Japan

REBLOGGED from another author! This post shares information about Yasuke, a samurai of black African origin who worked for Japanese warlord, Oda Nobunaga in the 16th century. Wow. Just wow! #HistoryGeek

Moorbey'z Blog

He Was an Enslaved African Soldier Given Into the Care of an Italian Missionary
The origins of Yasuke are shrouded in mystery, but historians believe the African soldier was born in 1555 in what was then Portuguese Mozambique. He was reportedly sold into slavery following the fall of Abysinnian Bengal, an African kingdom ruled by Ethiopians. Yasuke soon found himself in the care of Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano, who asked that the Black man accompany him on a mission trip to Japan.

His Arrival In Japan Caused Quite the Commotion
When Yasuke and Alessandro arrived in Kyoto, Japan, in 1579, the sight of the 6-foot-2 Black man caused a frenzy in the marketplace. The loud commotion caught the attention of Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga, who was impressed with Yasuke’s towering stature. The daimyo was all too fascinated with the African man’s skin, characterizing him as “handsome” and someone who possessed…

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(A lack of) diverse representation

REBLOGGED from another author! Thank you, Marketing Otter. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” Viola Davis (Emmy acceptance speech)

Marketing Otter

(Feature image generated by Twitter user @ChienJenn)

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Yesterday’s release of Ghost In the Shell, a Hollywood adaptation of the popular Japanese anime and manga, was faced with outrage and criticism over the film’s casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi. By not casting a Japanese or Asian American actress, the minority ethnic identity of the main character is erased and replaced by something untrue to its origins. Motoko’s identity is erased so much, in fact, that in the film’s advertising campaigns, the character is only referred to as “Major”, which is her rank as a name, instead of her full Japanese name. [Minor spoiler: in the film they named her Mira Killian. Because of course they did.]

The film’s marketing team made an image generator website and promoted it to the public in an attempt to incite hype for the movie, encouraging users to fill out “I am…” and it went viral.

But for all…

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Quotes to Write By – Day 27

Writing high fantasy is not for the hobbyist. It takes perseverance, cleverness, and lots of dedicated time.

I’m currently completing the second phase of world building for a high fantasy series that’s been haunting my waking and dreaming hours for quite some time. About three years actually. Adara Trosclair, for whom this blog is named after will make her appearance in the second book. I see main character in this first book clearly. She’s not like Adara, who is charismatic, sweet, and girly. Lethe, on the other hand, is bitter, snarky, resentful, and will most likely be an unlikable character. But that in no way means that readers will be unable to relate to her. Anyone who has lived on this earth may have acted like this guy:

grumpy

in some way, shape, or form. Even for a day. 🙂

But then again, maybe Lethe is more like this:

grumpy cat_people

And the entire idea behind this book — once a tiny seed — is now a mighty oak tree. Lol. Well, in my mind currently. For the past several days I’ve been working on my fantasy world’s distinct parts:

  • Continents
  • Characters
  • Religion
  • Ethnic groups
  • Jobs
  • Mythology
  • Language
  • Conflict

I also want my high fantasy idea to be fresh and to question and maybe even provide answers to current issues in the real world. Issues like racism, sexism, and bigotry.

tolkien quote

At first, I totally agreed with this quote from Tolkien. Fantasy is a great way to escape! However, escaping and being distracted is so easy and it’s not worth it. Yes, we all need a little break every now and then (that’s why I play video games and do Zumba Fitness), buuuuuuut, ignoring important issues in the world isn’t a solution to the world’s worldly ills (yes, yes, yes, I know I used the word world three times in that one sentence).

I’m considering whether or not the book would fit the Young Adult age group and if so, what kind of pitfalls must I avoid? For instance, is it okay for the two main characters to engage in sex? How violent and bloody should the sword and sorcery scenes be? And what about expletives? My husband and I are fans of Dragon Age and the rating for this RPG is “M” for mature audiences due to sex (your main character can ROMANCE other characters), violence (lots of blood — I mean LOTS), and other suggestive themes. And as I continue plotting away, do I consider my book having a dark tone like Dragon Age? HECK YA!

dragon age

Lots of blood slaughtering darkspawn, humans, dwarves, elves, and dragons!

I wouldn’t mind kids similar in age to my oldest son who will be seventeen soon reading this book. But younger than that? Wow. Just wow. Makes me feel uncomfortable.

dragon age_killthequeen

Lol. I just want Alistair. 🙂

As a child, I loved fairy tales and I also want to incorporate them into my high fantasy books. My favorites are the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Little Match Girl, and Rumpelstiltskin.

 

Regarding Tolkien’s quote, I agree more with the spotlighted quote of the day. I don’t need to escape. I want to understand.

 

Quote #27

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Quotes to Write By – Day 26 . . . with a Freebie!

 In a previous post, I discussed Octavia Butler’s thoughts on inspiration vs habit. Habit is worth cultivating. Inspiration when it comes to writing will do little for the writer. Writing every day or as much as one can is a best practice.

Initially, I planned on continuing the Quotes to Write By series for 60 days. However, I may have to take a small hiatus by day 30 in order to focus on writing a dark fantasy with sword and sorcery elements, which means I will excuse myself from all social media to make that first draft come much faster.

So, in honor of habit I share two quotes.

One from Clarence Kelland. The quote is hilarious and this dude was dedicated to sadism. 😉 And another from Ursula Le Guin.

Quote #26

clarencekelland

FREEBIE

ursulaleguin

 

 

An Interview with Daniel José Older

Reblogged from Readtowritestories.com. The author, Michael, did a great job at interviewing Older on his thoughts on the necessity for diversity in publishing.

Read to Write Stories

Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, the Young Adult novel Shadowshaper. His essay, "Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, and Publishing," addresses the institutional bias present in the publishing industry. Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, the Young Adult novel Shadowshaper. His essay, “Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, and Publishing,” addresses the institutional bias of the publishing industry.

Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series and the Young Adult novel Shadowshaper, which was nominated for the Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature. His first collection of short stories, Salsa Nocturna, and the Locus and World Fantasy-nominated anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, which he co-edited, are available from Crossed Genres Publications.

To read an exercise about becoming a better reader, click here.

In this interview, Older discusses the self-fulfilling prophecy of marketing, why categories in publishing matter, and what meaningful change in terms of diversity would look like.

Michael Noll

You write, “The publishing industry, people…

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Quotes to Write By – Day 25

Last night, I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning. A picture book idea came to me and I simply had to write it! I completed the first draft within four hours at 1275 words. I’ve always loved picture books and adore the time I share with my two youngest sons reading them and reveling in the characters and stories. I’ve never had a picture book published and would love for that to happen.

Picture books aren’t easy to write though. I think they’re much harder than chapter books and novels. Why? Well, the word count can only be so much. Also, you must be able to engage your young audience from the first to the very last page all the while focusing on theme without being too preachy. It’s a tightrope act of balancing just the right use of precise words that keeps readers reading and wanting to re-read the book until the pages are tattered and the book’s spine is worn down from lovable handling.

So, take Shakespeare’s advice because “brevity is the soul of wit”. Use great thought when choosing your words whether or not it’s a picture book and your writing will improve.

Quote #25

brevityshakespeare

 

 

Quotes to Write By – Day 24

Octavia Butler has been called the Queen of Sci-Fi and with the worlds, themes, and characters she has created and written about, the title is well-deserved. She unfortunately died on February 24, 2006. Due to the white male dominated world of science-fiction I had recently learned of her existence a few years ago. A few years too late.

My first taste of Butler was “Wild Seed”, a unique science-fiction novel about two shapeshifters — Doro and Anyanwu — who are drawn to one another in a bizarre dance of love, desire, and fear. I relished in the descriptions, the characters, and the settings (African jungle and United States of America).

I’m grieved with her loss and wonder what she would be creating and writing today at the age of 70.

Now that she is gone, perhaps the gatekeepers sense a giant, yawning vacuum hungry for a replacement. Unfortunately, genius such as Butler’s is irreplaceable. But, the gatekeepers can only try. After all, the science fiction genre is still dominated by white men. Yes, there are authors such as: Le Guin, Doris Lessing, C.L. Moore, Zenna Henderson, Madeleine L’Engle, and C.J. Cherryh. Alas, this list doesn’t deserve a tally mark ( maybe a brownie point) when these authors are also all white regardless of their gender.

Recently, authors like N.K. Jemisin (and I’m certain several others who I haven’t learned of yet) have earned top awards and made it to the nation’s best-seller lists in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

nkjemisin

N.K. Jemisin

Butler’s genius and success in a male dominated genre is inspirational. But, I’ll take her advice below and follow her where it truly counts:

Quote #24

OctaviaButler