Jose Rizal manga: a fun way to learn about a real-life hero

In commemoration of the Philippine national hero’s 157th birth anniversary, a manga entitled “Jose Rizal” was launched by online manga publisher Torico on Tuesday, June 19.

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The manga can now be read for free on the Manga.Club manga distribution site. It will be divided into three parts with a total of ten episodes, which will be uploaded on a weekly basis.

Written by Takahiro Matsui and illustrated by Ryo Konno, the story of the 100-page manga centers on Rizal’s journey to bringing change in the Philippines through knowledge instead of bloody violence. The story spans the hero’s beginnings during the Spanish colonial era up to his legacy to the Filipino people.

Truly, this is a refreshing way to learn about Philippine history and how Rizal’s contributions and courageous ideas led to the nation’s freedom. And since the story is served in short and easily digestible episodes, readers won’t be overwhelmed with so much information. It can even be an exciting reading experience since they would have to wait for new episodes every week.

However, since the story has been compressed to suit the manga medium, readers can expect an abridged version with some fictitious details. There will certainly be no fully, fleshed-out accounts of historical events, so in this regard, the manga can also urge readers to dig deeper and further expand their knowledge of the country’s history. Perhaps, it could encourage readers to pick up actual history books in order to gain more perspective on how Filipinos were able to topple the 300-year Spanish rule.

Here’s an overview of the chapters of the series and their release dates:

  • Chapter 1: Unreasonable Life of Filipinos under Spanish Rule – three parts to be released on June 19, 26, and July 3
  • Chapter 2: The Social Reform Born from the Novel – three parts to be released on July 17, 24, and 31
  • Chapter 3: Rizal’s Legacy – four parts to be released on August 14, 21, and 28

According to Torico chief Takuro Ando, he found the inspiration to create the manga after visiting Hibiya Park in Tokyo where a statue of Rizal stands. It sparked an interest in Ando, which led him to research about Rizal and conceptualize a manga project about the Filipino hero.

Ando took the idea into fruition by coordinating with Torico’s Davao-based affiliate company, Creative Connections & Commons Inc. They looked for a knowledgeable person who can write Rizal’s story and found a qualified individual in Takahiro Matsui, a teacher of Japanese to Filipino learners.

Matsui taught in the Philippines from 2003 to 2014. He currently lives in the suburbs of Tokyo where he still teaches Japanese to Filipino learners.

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