Book tells Lee Kuan Yew story, manga style

Author Yoshio Nabeta (top) and illustrator Toshiki Takii yesterday released a double-volume comic book on the life of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Author Yoshio Nabeta (right) and illustrator Toshiki Takii yesterday released a double-volume comic book on the life of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.ST PHOTOS: CHEW SENG KIM

Publisher Shogakukan Asia yesterday launched a comic book on the life of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, aimed at younger readers.

The Story Of LKY, from the Singapore-based subsidiary of Japan's Shogakukan publishing house, comes in two volumes - Lee Kuan Yew: Growing Up, and Lee Kuan Yew: Road To Independence - in an initial print run of 5,000 copies for each volume.

Author Yoshio Nabeta, 53, is also behind Shogakukan Asia's The LKY Story - Lee Kuan Yew: The Man Who Shaped A Nation, a graphic novel released in October.

This time, he teamed up with illustrator Toshiki Takii, 55, who adopted a stereotypically heroic manga style - smooth features, sparkling eyes - to convey that Mr Lee is the protagonist.

To appeal to primary school pupils, the production team also drew bigger panels, gave more explanations of the political context and adopted a left-to-right Western binding for the book.

The two volumes cover Mr Lee's childhood, and wartime experience and education, as well as the formation of the People's Action Party, merger with Malaya, and independence.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Nabeta said: "Of course, there are other historical figures in Singapore, but Mr Lee Kuan Yew is like a father and a representative figure, so he is respected even by the Japanese."

His favourite and most emotional scenes to draw were when Mr Lee gave up his English name Harry, and when he tearfully shook hands with Tunku Abdul Rahman after the decision for Singapore and Malaysia to part.

•The Story Of LKY is available at $12.90 for each volume at major bookstores.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2017, with the headline 'Book tells Lee Kuan Yew story, manga style'. Print Edition | Subscribe