"My Fatherland ador'd, that sadness to my sorrow lends,
Beloved Filipinas, hear now my last good-by!
I give thee all: parents and kindred and friends,
For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns e'er on high!
Farewell to you all, from my soul torn away,
Friends of my childhood in the home dispossessed!”

From "Mi Último Adiós" ("My Last Farewell") by José Rizal, composed the night before his execution.

On June 19, a group of Japanese creatives launched a free online manga featuring José Rizal as the main character, commemorating the annicersary of the Filipino national hero's 157th birthday. News of this release caused mass fervor in the Philippines, where Rizal is revered as a passionate advocate for political reform during the Spanish colonial period whose writings inspired 1896 Philippine Revolution.

The manga is titled "Jose Rizal" and was written by Matsui Takahiro, illustrated by Konno Ryo, and released by TORICO in both Japanese and English.

Manga.club released a 50-second video to introduce the manga to their fans: "For the first time in Japan, the world of Japanese comics pays homage to a quintessential Filipino. Who? Who? Jose Rizal." The video also said: "Jose Rizal’s 157th birth anniversary; José Rizal will be reborn in the world of Japanese comics."

The Rizal manga is divided into four chapters. The first chapter starts with Rizal’s tragic yet heroic end in his fight for justice on the banks of Manila Bay, where he was executed by a firing squad of Filipino troops serving in the Spanish Army.


Photo Credit: WikiCommons

An image showing Rizal shortly before he was executed by firing squad on December 30, 1896.

Two of a total four episodes have since been released, with the third scheduled for July 4 at 4 p.m..

A brief synopsis for the manga goes like this: when the Philippines was rule by colonial Spain over 300 years ago, at a time when the Filipinos were oppressed and bullied, Rizal came into the world and was determined to rescue the people of the Philippines from their pain, not with violence but through knowledge.

Rizal was born on June 19, 1861, with his ancestry can be traced back to China's Fujian Province. He was chiefly an ophthalmologist, but also practiced general medicine during his short time in Hong Kong. In addition to his profession as a doctor, he also excelled in art, philosophy and history and was proficient in many languages ​​including English, German and Latin.

He was executed on Dec. 30, 1896, for his alleged role in encouraging armed revolution against the Spanish colonial government.

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Translator: Zeke Li

Editor: David Green