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The Manga world of Shining Brilliance

05 April 2024

John Prockter, a schools-ministry worker, has written a Manga-themed biblical allegory for children. See the gallery for more images

Dawnie Chan

I WOULD not profess to be a natural evangelist — and I’m certainly not a great preacher. I’m more of a storyteller who is interested in finding ways to explain the power of the gospel to young people.

In 2009, a teacher asked me to write an RE lesson that was able to inspire young people about Jesus. The brief for the lesson was quite tricky: it had to include details about Jesus’s eternal nature, the incarnation, and his life as a miracle worker and teacher. It also had to include the concepts of redemption, resurrection, and even the Parousia.

Some of the stories that I told in that lesson have become illustrations that I love talking about to my children and the young people I work with. It dawned on me a few years ago that I could write these concepts as an allegorical story, something that would point to Jesus and explain why I live for him.

The resulting novel, Hikaru, is a saga bound in one book. It’s set in a fantasy world and unpacks the message of the gospel. Very early in the development, I decided to use Japanese names to create characters reflecting the gospel. Hikaru, for example, means “shining brilliance”, which I thought was a great allegory for Jesus. Miyako means “beautiful night child”, and he’s our picture of Satan.

In the world of Hikaru, Miyako was the greatest warrior in the royal guard, and enjoyed the closest relationship with the rulers of the Eternal Dimension. Kana, Hikaru, and Seirei ruled with all the wisdom of true leaders, but every warrior knew the legend that told of the “name above all names” who would one day emerge to rule them all.

Miyako knew Kana, Hikaru, and Seirei well enough to understand they would never seek more status; but, when he entertains the idea that he himself might become the “name above all names”, jealousy takes over, and a dark shadow corrupts his already troubled mind.

As time passes, Kana, Hikaru, and Seirei introduce someone new to the mortal dimension, a man they call Ningen. When Miyako learns what they’re doing, he lashes out, setting them all on a journey through dimensions and time in a desperate chase to stop him, save Ningen, and restore the future.

The book design is Manga, the comic-book style that originated in Japan. My first exposure to the genre was in 1988, when I saw a Manga movie, Akira. I have only ever had a passive interest in Manga and anime art, but I’ve been very interested in young people’s enduring passion for it. For example, Pokémon was first released in 1996, and it’s still popular with young people today.


I AM very fortunate to be friends with an anime artist and Manga author, Dawnie Chan, and she is the illustrator I worked with on Hikaru. Because we lived in the same community for a time, we could meet to discuss what it would take to craft the novel. In the early days, we designed the characters together.

Over time, I created a comprehensive set of storyboards, with notes about what was happening, so that she could focus on the art. In the end, there were 100 storyboards, which she worked through over three years or so.

Hikaru has been designed as a resource for young people inside and outside the Church. The key is that the book is designed to be a gift from someone who loves Jesus and longs for young people to meet Jesus. It would suit readers aged between eight and 14. I hope that young people who read Hikaru will be stirred to explore Jesus, and that the person who gives them the book will engage with them about what they discover in it.

Dawnie ChanDawnie Chan

In the “Explained” section at the end of the book, I talk about my childhood, superheroes, food, and the bigness of God. Each of the six chapters in this section is designed to help young people to understand identity in Christ, sin, salvation, and what it means to live a life for Jesus. First and foremost, I’m a father of three and an uncle to many nieces and nephews. I’m also a schools ministry worker, and disciple a small group of young people in my community. Put simply, I wrote Hikaru for all of them.

There are two main plans for the book now that it’s published. The first is to take it to churches to inspire Christian parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to buy the book for the young people in their lives and communities. The second is to take it into schools with workshops, videos, music, and resources that inspire young people with the gospel. It’s very much in the process of that initial distribution now.

One of the ways we got the word out was by using crowdfunding. The campaign we launched was to put 1000 copies of a smaller version of the book in the hands of young people in education. I’m now going to conferences and looking for churches that are keen to have me visit with the book. The book is available through Amazon; and bulk, church, and retail orders are available from the Catalyst Youth Trust website (catalystyouthtrust.co.uk/hikaruretail).

So far, I’ve taught a thousand young people in schools using Hikaru to open up the key themes. In this academic year, I’m booked to teach another thousand students who will also be given the book. Of course, if the Lord provides more opportunities, I’ll happily take it around the country.

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