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Through Japanese manga, Rizal’s life, career, and values are promoted.

Just in time for the 125th anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal’s martyrdom, the Philippine Embassy in Japan has presented a special addition to its Sentro Rizal Library: copies of the first manga themed on the national hero’s life, work, and principles.

Last December 27, the English and Filipino versions of the manga “Jose Rizal, The Filipino Hero’s Life Illustrated,” which bear the signatures of writer Takahiro Matsui and illustrator Ryo Konno, were officially handed over to the Embassy’s Sentro Rizal Library.

“The life, work, and values of Dr. Rizal should be shared with future generations of Filipino and Japanese students.” “I know for a fact that asking kids to remember dates, names, and events is not enough,” Philippine Embassy in Japan Charge d’affaires Robespierre Bolivar remarked.

“As a result, the release of this Manga gives a novel method to pique the curiosity of younger generations who are comic book aficionados and encourage them to learn more about our national hero,” he added.

Matsui, for one, expressed his appreciation for Dr. Rizal and his many qualities, knowledge, and life perspectives.

He believed that via his efforts, he may inspire children of Filipino origin in Japan, portraying Rizal as a “honorable man in the Philippines who devoted himself to the cause of human dignity and independence.”

The manga uses flashbacks to tell the story of Rizal’s life, starting with a scene depicting his execution at Bagumbayan, now Luneta Park.

The narrative then returns to his upbringing in Laguna, retracing the various stages of his schooling, writing, and pursuit of far-reaching reforms when the Philippines was under Spanish rule.

It was first made available online in 2018, and then printed in Filipino, English, and Nihongo.

Japan and the Philippines have a long history of friendship based on close personal interactions between Filipinos and Japanese.

In 1888, Rizal visited Tokyo after fleeing Spanish persecution following the publication of his book Noli Me Tangere.

Historians claim that while wandering through Hibiya Park, Rizal heard musicians playing Strauss and discovered that the band members were Filipinos when he approached.

His visit to Hibiya Park resulted in the placement of a bust of him in the park, which stands peaceful and proud in a secluded nook of Hibiya Park to this day.

The statue was claimed to have inspired a Japanese cartoonist to examine the Filipino martyr’s life, and it was through this research that the manga rendition of the martyr was born.

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