MANILA - The Philippine Embassy in Japan has gotten its copies of the first Manga about the life of Dr. Jose Rizal, whose death will be commemorated by the country on Thursday.
The embassy said it added the Manga, autographed by the writer Takahiro Matsui and artist Ryo Konno, to its Sentro Rizal Library. The library holds details and information about the country's national hero.
"Jose Rizal, The Filipino Hero’s Life Illustrated" was first published online on June 19, 2018, coinciding with Rizal’s birth anniversary. It has since been released in Filipino, Japanese and English versions.
Philippine Embassy in Japan Charge d’ Affaires Robespierre Bolivar expressed his gratitude to Matsui "for his groundbreaking work," adding that it could help the future generation to learn more about Rizal.
“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," said Bolivar in his remarks.
"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 added.
The Manga narrates the national hero's life and death "through flashbacks," the embassy said in a statement.
"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 added.
Rizal, whom the international community calls as ‘’The Great Malayan,’’ traveled to Japan in 1888 during the course of his peaceful revolt against the Spanish rulers of the Philippines.
Ricardo Jose, a history professor at the University of the Philippines, had said that Rizal’s trip to Japan is ‘’relatively’’ unpopular among Filipinos because it lasted only for one-and-a-half months, unlike his European trips where he spent years for studies and later, in pursuing his fight against Spanish colonizers through his literary masterpieces.
What people were more familiar with was his having a Japanese girlfriend, identified as O-Sei-san or Seiko Usui, who, according to historians, was a 23-year-old daughter of a samurai who caught the attention of the then 27-year-old Rizal during the latter’s stay in Tokyo.
Matsui expressed his admiration for Rizal's work, life, and perspective.
He said he intended the story to be read most especially by Filipinos living in Japan.
Rizal was born in the town of Calamba, Laguna on June 19, 1861. He was best known for his two novels—Noli Me Tángere and El filibusterismo, which inspired the Philippine revolution.
The Philippines will commemorate the 125th anniversary of his martyrdom on Thursday.
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