Philippine Embassy in Tokyo promotes Jose Rizal’s life, work, and values through manga
To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the Philippine Embassy unveiled a special addition to its Sentro Rizal Library – copies of the first manga (Japanese-style comic book) about the Philippine national hero autographed by the author and artist.
The English and Filipino versions of the Manga entitled, “Jose Rizal, The Filipino Hero’s Life Illustrated,” which bear the signatures of the writer Takahiro Matsui, and artist Ryo Konno, were officially turned over to the Sentro Rizal Library of the Philippine Embassy in Japan during a ceremony held Monday.
In his remarks, Philippine Embassy in Japan Charge d’affaires (CDA) Robespierre L. Bolivar praised Matsui for his groundbreaking work.
“Dr. Rizal’s life, work and values should be shared with generations of young Filipino and Japanese students alike. As a teacher before joining the diplomatic service, I know for a fact that asking students to remember dates, names and events is not sufficient. As such, the publication of this Manga presents a creative way to capture the interest and engage younger generations, who are fans of comic books, to learn more about our national hero,” he said.
Matsui spoke about his admiration for Rizal and his various talents, intellect, and perspectives about life. He hoped that with his work, he can share Rizal’s inspiration to children of Filipino descent living in Japan.
Matsui wanted to impart the message that “there was once an honorable man in the Philippines who devoted himself to the cause of human dignity and freedom”.
The manga relates the key events in Rizal’s life through flashbacks, beginning with a scene depicting his execution at Bagumbayan, now Luneta Park.
The story then revisits his childhood in Laguna, and retraces the different stages of his education, writing, and pursuit of far-reaching reforms of the Spanish rule in the Philippines. It was first released online in 2018, before being published in Filipino, English and Nihonggo. Philippine Embassy in Tokyo