Portrait of a Filipino hero in manga

PH Embassy in Japan promotes Dr. Jose Rizal’s life, work, and values through a Japanese graphic novel

To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo 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 the artist Ryo Konno, were officially and ceremoniously turned over to the Sentro Rizal Library of the Philippine Embassy in Japan. 

COMIC HERO Philippine Embassy Charge d’ Affaires Robespierre L. Bolivar (right) and author Takahiro Matsui unveiling the signed copies of the Jose Rizal Manga at the Sentro Rizal Library

In his remarks, Philippine Embassy in Japan Chargé d’Affaires 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.

‘There was once an honorable man in the Philippines who devoted himself to the cause of human dignity and freedom.’

Matsui spoke about his admiration for Dr. Rizal and his various talents, intellect, and perspectives in life. He hoped that with his work, he can share Rizal’s inspiration with children of Filipino descent living in Japan. The writer 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.


(Tokyo PE Photos)