The life of National Hero Jose Rizal has been adapted into a manga, or Japanese comicbook, by publisher TORICO. The release of the publication was timed to coincide with Rizal’s 157th birth anniversary, which was early this week on June 19. It is now available to read online through manga.club, in English and Japanese, and sukima.me, in Japanese. There are reportedly plans to translate the manga into Filipino for local audiences. Read the first chapter here.
The manga would follow the life of Rizal through 4-volumes and a total of 100 pages. The release of the story will be in the typical installment style of mangas, instead of all at once. New pages are to be released every Tuesday.
TORICO representative Takuro Ando disclosed to CNN Philippines the inspiration behind the comic: apparently, Ando’s curiosity was piqued upon seeing a statue of Rizal in Tokyo.’s Hibiya Park. This triggered Ando’s research into Rizal, who he found to be a man “who had changed his country not through violence but through his knowledge and hard work.”
Rizal’s influence in Japan began in the springtime of 1888 when he stayed in the country for 45 days. His travels brought him to Tokyo and Tokohama. It is said that the beauty and nature of the archipelago charmed Rizal, enough to encourage his studies into Japanese cultures and traditions. The letters Rizal wrote back to his family and to Ferdinand Blumentritt reflected his favorable views of the country. Also during his time in Japan, Rizal fell in love with a Japanese woman named Seiko Usui.
The storyline of the manga was written by Matsui Takahiro. Illustrations were by award-winning artist Ryo Konno.