A number of specialised bibliographies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s works show that his Social Contract has been translated multiple times into both Japanese and Spanish. One of its most recent translations is a manga adaptation, published first in Japanese in 2011, and then translated into Spanish in 2013. This adaptation of the Social Contract is here considered part of a long history of translations, rewritings and appropriations. After briefly retracing the history in the Japanese and Spanish cultural contexts, the article considers this intersemiotic version of Rousseau’s classic work as a refraction of an ‘original’ and ‘canonical’ Rousseau. It is argued that this manga can be read as a complex narrative which synthesises, translates and rewrites Rousseau’s work both visually and textually, rather than as a merely educational text or an apparently unfaithful translation.