As early back as the days of “Astroboy” and more importantly “Voltes V”, Filipinos have been exposed to the prominent bastion of Japanese pop culture that is their animation, called Anime. And with the advent of “Dragon Ball Z” and similar shows, we were introduced to manga or Japanese comics, from which these anime usually originate. In the past decade Filipino artists even consciously emulated the manga style in published works. Such is the Philippine fascination for manga/anime, that they might appreciate this new upcoming print work from Japan, about probably the greatest Filipino of them all: Dr. Jose Rizal.
Yes you read right; a manga about Jose Rizal is being developed by a publishing and distribution company in Japan for online perusal, according to CNN Philippines. The simply-named “Jose Rizal” manga is expected to run 100 pages long, telling a biography of Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonzo Realonda – doctor, author, philosopher, and the most celebrated patriot in Philippine history – as interpreted through a story by Takahiro Matsui and artwork by Ryo Konno. There is no detail yet regarding how much of Rizal’s life will be covered by the manga. Once online, its first pages will be viewable free.
The “Jose Rizal” manga will be published by Torico Corporation, and is the brainchild of Torico representative Takuro Ando. Ando notes that the idea for the manga took root during a stroll through Tokyo’s Hibiya Park, where he noticed the bronze bust of Jose Rizal. Curious, Ando began researching Rizal’s life, and through communication with Filipino sources, he understood the extent that the Philippine patriot affected the world through both his travels and writings. “Japan, too, was affected by the genius of Rizal, who had changed his country not through violence but through his knowledge and hard work,” he said.
Torico’s online manga service Sukima.Me, will host the original Japanese-language version of the “Jose Rizal” manga starting Tuesday June 19. Creative Connections and Commons (CCC), a Philippine tech company based in Davao City, stands as Torico’s local partner for producing an official English version of “Jose Rizal”, which in turn will be made available on Manga.Club at the same time. A new page of the manga will release every Tuesday.
During his life before returning to the Philippines – where he was eventually martyred – Jose Rizal travelled around the world, throughout Europe, across America and even in Asia. He lived in Japan for a month and a half in 1888, where he met and fell in love with Tokyo local Seiko Usui, known in his writings as O-Sei-san. His talent for languages helped him study the Japanese language, and he is also reputed to have learned oriental martial arts like jujitsu.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News