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Manga / Jin

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Jin (仁) is a manga by Motoka Murakami, which was serialized in Super Jump from 2000 to 2010 and compiled into 20 volumes.

Minakata Jin is a brilliant brain surgeon in contemporary Tokyo. One day, after operating on a patient with a freak brain tumor, he starts hearing strange voices, and all of a sudden he finds himself transported 140 years into the past. One minute he was in the hospital he works at, the next he's in a grove, while men are having a swordfight mere meters away. He soon figures out he is stranded at the end of the Tokugawa era, a few years before the beginning of the Meiji era.

Before long he casts aside philosophical questions about changing the course of history and whatnot; with a cholera epidemic in full swing, he applies his medical knowledge and fast-forwards the development of germ theory by several decades. As he becomes increasingly famous, he attracts the attention of various political factions and eventually takes sides.

A Live Action TV show called JIN has been made of it in 2009. A South Korean version was broadcasted and adapted, known as Dr. Jin.

On June 16, 2017 Murakami Motoka started a Patreon account to allow an "official" English translation to be posted there. No word on publishing a localization.

On August 4, 2021, Jin was added to the Mangamo manga reading app.

Contains examples of:

  • Alternate History: For better or worse, Jin's involvement in the past has invariably altered the course of Japan's history. And he knows it, whether he directly causes the changes or not.
    • Ultimately downplayed. While Jin's future know-how retroactively alters some aspects of Japanese/world history, it doesn't make too much of a difference in the really big events, like the Shogunate - and the Samurai Age as a whole - being ended by the Meiji Restoration. It's even implied that Japan's participation in the World Wars remains the same. Practically speaking, his impact comes down to a bunch of groundbreaking medical inventions and techniques (and pastries like donuts) being ascribed to one random Japanese guy instead of a collection of Westerners - though there's also an offhand implication that he inspired modern doctors to be more at-ease balancing traditional Chinese medicine with Western medicine.
  • Anyone Can Die: Invoked during the measles epidemic which showed both the poor and rich alike falling victim to the sickness, showing that in Japan during the 1880s, death really didn't care who you were.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Twice in a row during Nokaze's operation, as daimyo's servants arrive to kill her and Jin. First, Saki shows up and threatens killing herself if they as much as try to enter the room. This buys enough time for the second Big Damn Heroes, as Shinmon arrives with his men, overwhelming the assailants with sheer numbers.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The midwife owning the Chujo clinic seems like a nice person at first, even lending Jin the money he needs with no percent and seven years to pay it back, but after he leaves, she forges his signature on another paper, which states that for the 400 ryu, Jin will give away all the new and refined penicillin. Thankfully, Tanasuke's heart of gold shows itself in time to pay the debt back.
  • Broken Pedestal: Saki looks rather heartbroken when she learns that Tanosuke won't give money to heal the woman he's made pregnant. Later subverted, as he gives the money so that Jin won't be indebted, winning Saki's respect back. Not that he cares either way.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Averted with the justification that hair and clothing styles are really limited in Edo. Aside from that, characters in crowd scenes are consistently given unique facial expressions and posture - no two characters ever actually look the same, and are clearly having different reactions to unfolding events.
  • Cat Smile: Seen on one occasion, a rare use of a contemporary graphic convention in a series that uses a classic/realist style
  • Chekhov's Gun: Sometime after the measles and cholera epidemic, Jin and someone from the Western Medical Institute dicuss Beriberi, B vitamin deficency, it's causes and treatments. Cue a few arcs later and Saki's mother begins suffering from it due to her Heroic BSoD.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Jin never looks away when there's someone in need and it feels like he charges money for his services only because he should.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Nokaze gets friendlier and more approachable the more time she spends with Jin. Her infatuation with him helps.
  • Dream Sequence: Jin dreams that he gets to show 21st century Tokyo to Saki. He appears to regularly dream about his old life as well.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: If it wasn't for his short hair and other characters referring to him as male, you probably wouldn't guess that Tanosuke is a man. His acting career mainly comprises of him playing women, and he's one of the best in doing it. Doesn't help that he wore effeminate clothes and makeup most times we see him.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: In order to evade hired assassins, Jin and Saki hide in a grove used as a make-out place, and in order to blend in, lock in embrace.
    • Amusingly, Jin and Saki are the only couple that are merely embracing — and said assassins leave with their tails between their legs when they're mocked by the couples whose more-than-making out was interrupted, in a Funny Moment.
  • Fetus Terrible: The fetus which ends up sending Jin to the past is pretty damn terrifying mixture of Nausea Fuel and Nightmare Fuel. Not to mention that it's apparently spent 40 years in another man's brain and can telepathically talk to (or rather scream at) Jin even when he's miles away or in the past.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Pre-Meiji Japanese society takes some getting used to. (Manga!Jin appears to have worked things out while rushing to operate on Kyoutaro; Live-Action!Jin is still struggling with it through the cholera epidemic.)
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: The unspoken attraction between Jin and Saki gets ramped up a notch when Jin nurses a wounded Saki and gets to see her topless. Then it gets ramped up another notch when Jin comes down with cholera and has to be nursed by Saki, who sees of him much more than was proper for a girl of her upbringing.
    • Actually happens a few times throughout the series, to varying degrees of 'romance'. Nokaze seems to have gotten it by proxy for Jin, Ki'ichi fever-dreams that Jin's his dad, Kokitsu and O-Koma actively crush on him for a while... As time passes, it seems that the fastest way to raise an army would be to tell the population of Edo, "Doctor Minakata is in danger and needs your help."
  • Foreshadowing: Kiichi's fever dream in the beginning of the series foretold his eventual adoption into Jin's household.
  • Furo Scene: Played entirely for non-comedic effect in Volume 9... until Jin has to ask everyone to cover themselves up.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans:
    • Jin starts off sharing modern surgical techniques, instrument design, sanitation, and low-tech treatments (that is, the absolute best they can do given the technical limitations of the era, not 'phoning it in') for cholera and malnutrition. When he runs up against syphilis, however, Jin's knowledge butts up against the limits of his era's technological toolkit. Even though he eventually manages to create a version of penicillin, it's weak compared to modern antibiotics and can only be produced in limited quantities and with great effort.
      • However, he later remembers a proposed method, which not only works but it is capable of being produced in large quantities even in the technologically restricted pre-Meiji era, of concentrating the penicillin to the point where it is just shy of being as effective as most antibacterial lotions today.
    • While for the first four volumes Jin intermittently shares his knowledge, depending mainly on what's required to solve the problem of the week, Ogata-sensei begs on his deathbed for Jin to push forward the world's knowledge of medicine as far as possible before Jin's own death... and that Jin never return to the future if the chance comes up. Jin agrees wholeheartedly to both requests.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Nokaze, and it permeates her every move and interaction.
  • Historical Domain Character: Jin interacts with Sakamoto Ryoma and other famous figures of the period. In fact a lot of characters with a surname are historical, save for the Tachibanas.
  • Honor Before Reason: Constantly, and the primary source of red tape Jin runs into. On a few occasions, Jin (or someone close by) has to put their life on the line just so he can operate - the agreement being that if the patient dies, so does he. It tapers off as time passes, after he picks up a reputation as someone who can reliably drag people back from the brink of death.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Nokaze is a decent and good person underneath her facade of somewhat jerkass geisha.
  • Identity Amnesia: Jin uses "I don't remember who I am" as a cover story for Saki's family to avoid having to explain that he's actually from the future. Unfortunately for him, they are rather eager to help him find out who he really is and so he ends up confessing the truth to Saki. Later he completely abandons the concept.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Trying to prevent Ryoma's assassination - Jin's only true attempt to defy the history he knows - only extends the guy's life by about two weeks; the way he died, however, is quite different. In the end, the Age of Samurai gets swallowed up by the Meiji Restoration after all.
  • Intimate Healing: See above.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Saki. And, as it turns out, Nokaze and Ei as well. Nokaze 'sells herself', as she puts it, to a French merchant to get the money needed to keep Jin safe while he's in prison. They appear to be Happily Married and into charity work.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Both Nokaze and Tanasuke come off as rather jerkish at first, but warm up once they and Jin get to know each other better.
  • Jidaigeki
  • Large Ham: Holy penicillin, Ryoma is getting more hamtastic with his every appearance. This have a tendency to give Jin heart attack, like when he's all "HA! I don't have any money either! POWAH!!!
  • Live-Action Adaptation: See here. Changes just about everything about the story - most prominently ramping up the level of antagonism Jin has to overcome, as well as the characters and the order of some events - to the extent that it and the manga aren't in the same genre.
  • May–December Romance: Jin is approaching middle age. Saki's not even twenty yet.
  • Medieval Morons: Largely averted. Jin's medical skills are frequently not trusted as much as they really ought to be, but that's because he's doing things so far and above the pre-Meiji period that the only way they can believe it is to see it. Doctors get a fair amount of respect, Jin is eventually able to get Cattle Punk versions of 2000-era medical tools made, etc.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: Genen Taki's animosity towards Jin makes him (and to a lesser amount, the Medical Academy) an easy target for audience suspicion when it's actually Shunsai Misumi pulling the strings.
  • Oblivious to Love: Before Ryome points it out to him, Jin has no idea that Nokaze's attracted to him.
  • Obsolete Mentor: Pretty much everyone in the pre-Meiji Era medical profession feels this way when they learn what Jin can do. Some eagerly learn from Jin. Others try to kill him to as to not lose everything they've ever worked for. At least one person does both.
  • Panacea: The doctors at Medical Institute think that penicillin is this.
  • Platonic Prostitution: Ryoma hires a prostitute on Jin's behalf, but the latter is too passed out from drink to even wake up when she enters his bed; The next morning, she returns the money. This happened twice.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Kyotaro in the TV show. (His mother and sister will be tossed onto the streets if he dies. In comparison, Manga!Kyoutaro doesn't remain conscious long enough to say so much.)
  • Red Light District: Jin makes repeated visits, mostly but not solely for business, to Yoshiwara.
    • The manga itself apparently started when Murakami researched the inhabitants of such districts, then felt so terrible for them that he created the story to give them a better ending.
  • Rule of Funny: Murakami will give characters comical expressions if there's a joke to be had (usually Ryouma, who gets a few funny moments - Live-Action!Ryouma even gets whole scenes like this).
  • Running Gag: Every time Jin has to surgically open someone's stomach or neck up, someone nearby (possibly the patient) will act as though he's cutting open that area with a sword.
  • Samurai: Their age is ending... or is it?
  • Secret-Keeper: Ogata Kōan asks Jin to confirm his suspicion that he's from the future, before revealing that he's dying from Tuberculosis and will take Jin's secret to his grave. He then tearfully asks that Jin not leave the era for the sake of the people.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Jin freaks out when Ryoma suggests there's something between him and Saki. He's mostly concerned about the age difference - he's two decades older than her.
    • This of course plays into Deliberate Values Dissonance between mid-1880s Japan and Early 2000s. Although he would probably still have a problem even if she was over 18.
  • Temporal Mutability: Jin doesn't long agonize about the consequences of changing the past. He sets to apply his expertise in modern medicine to improve people's lives, and alters Japanese history in the process.
    • He meets a young girl whom he later realizes is his great-great-great-grandmother, and, indirectly because of him, she dies. So in this timeline he knows he will never be born no matter what happens.
    • Later on in the series Jin met a baby boy with the same surname as him. He then had weird dreams but this time it's presented more ambiguously, hinting that he would probably still exist in some form in the future. Understandable, given that Jin is way back in time and he definitely did not eradicate all of his ancestors.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Usually calm and composed Saki goes nuts when she has opportunity to meet a kabuki actor she adores.
  • Thunder Shock: Overused to the point of sweet, sweet Narm.
  • Trapped in the Past: Although he's not terribly broken up about it, except when it comes to him lacking the tools necessary to help sick people.
  • What Year Is This?:
    Jin: "By the way, what year is this?
    Saki: "Why, this year is year two of Bunkyuu Era."
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Jin develops a relationship with Saki, the traditionally-educated daughter of a samurai family... though she gradually averts the trope by becoming his assistant.
    • In an amusing scene involving him facing down a Naginata, it turns out that her mother Ei is also this.