Jin (2009 Jdrama)

Original Title: JIN-仁-

I’m taking the liberty of not tagging Jin as “sci-fi” mainly because there’s no machines or new technology involved.

Brain surgeon Minakata Jin (Takao Osawa) isn’t so sure about his skills as a surgeon after a failed attempt on a surgery he performed on his girlfriend Miki (Miki Nakatani), who was left on a comatose state ever since. During a bizarre operation, Dr. Jin extracts a fetus-shaped tumor from a patient that then causes some mayhem.

The concept after that is simple — Minakata Jin magically time-slips back to the Edo period, where he will be in the middle of very important historical changes.

Back in 1862, Jin is saved from a samurai attack by Kyotaro Tachibana (Keisuke Koide) who gets slashed on the forehead. In danger of dying and having his family lose everything, Jin operates on Kyotaro to the best of his abilities with the help of Kyotaro’s younger sister, Saki (Ayase Haruka). Being his only link to the period, Jin befriends the Tachibana family, and Saki begins her interest in modern medicine.

A show like Jin has a LOT of interesting prospects — the Butterfly Effect is at play when he begins interfering in all these people’s lives — what would happen if all the people that were supposed to die in a cholera epidemic didn’t die? Dr. Minakata Jin has a lot of understandably selfish reasons for wanting to advance medicine, the main one being so he could one day save Miki. Things get more exciting when we meet courtesan Nokaze (Miki Nakatani), who is an ancestor of the future Miki — the question is: would you let someone die in the present so that someone may live in the future?

Jin also serves for a fun Japanese history review. NHK’s 2010 Taiga drama Ryomaden presented us quite a chiseled Sakamoto Ryoma played by popular Masaharu Fukuyama. In here, Ryoma is played by Uchino Masaaki as a courtesan-sniffing loyal friend who loves to have fun. It’s completely hilarious, but at the same time makes him feel a little more real.

Of course, Jin doesn’t completely explain what is going on because it’s such an important period historically that it’s common knowledge for viewers. However, it’s all set up nicely for what’s to come in Jin 2, the second series aired in 2011, where the doctor will be involved with even more historical figures, possibly changing the world he used to live in.

The acting is pretty great, especially from Miki Nakatani as courtesan Nokaze. Outside of her wardrobe and makeup, her speech is amazing. The way she speaks and gestures, the way she holds herself high even though she has such a tragic background. She’s amazing. Ayase Haruka also holds her own — I much prefer her here than in Hotaru no Hikari.

Saki is a strange blemish at a time when samurais’ daughters were supposed to get married to higher-ranking families — Saki takes an interest in Dr. Minakata Jin… or maybe she takes an interest in medicine first, it’s unclear to me. The way she acts and holds herself reminds me of the conflicted feelings that Amy Adams gave Disney princesses in Enchanted.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

9 Responses

  1. Julyssa says:

    Btw! Did you hear? There’s a Korean remake on the works! With Jaejoong starring in the part of a warrior or something… Anyway, this is going to be so interesting seeing as Jin was mad popular in Japan. I wonder if there’s a need to do a Korean remake, wouldn’t it be better to just sub the Japanese one?

    • amy says:

      @Julyssa, you know them Asian ones – they hate subs LOL so they remake each other tons of times. Meteor Shower, Hana Kimi, Boys Over Flowers…

      I dunno if Jaejoong is right for the part of Kyotaro to be honest. Remember the afro-Timpani-player in Nodame? It was him. Same actor, I couldn’t believe it. I really don’t know how they can remake them… is there like a Korean counterpart of being a samurai family?

      I also wonder what the historical concept is going to be. Part of the charm is having Sakamoto Ryoma on the show. And what’s a Kdrama to do with the concept of courtesans? There’s a whole episode that deals with syphilis and another one about a botched up abortion.

    • amy says:

      @Julyssa, I wonder how this review plays out for you now that you’ve seen the Korean re-adaptation xD

      • Julyssa Diaz says:

        No comments….

        • amy says:

          @Julyssa Diaz, the Kdrama version put both Jdrama series into one, so they basically had nearly as many episodes, right? (23 Kdrama vs the 24 Jdrama eps?). Seems to have some very noticeable pacing problems and the ending xD

          See, you don’t need to watch a WHOLE series to see how it’s going to turn out. I called on those hahaha. You should watch the Jdrama version, and maybe we can discuss watching remakes and re-adaptations for one of our forgotten editors’ chats xD

  2. amy says:

    yeah, but pacing and length have an effect on story, character development, characterization. I think the actual adaptation of the medicine in the historic context was done alright, like having to deal with the outbreaks and the diseases at that point in time – they were similar cases, but not exactly the same so as not to deem it unnecessary as a re-adaptation. It was just the other unnecessary changes they did… like not doing it chronologically, instead having it going back and forth in times, or character swaps- they all affected the character build-up of the story.

    Logically, the Japanese first series was focus on just character development. It was Jin coming into this time and place, having getting accustomed to it and bonding with the people he meets while presenting you the idea of wanting to change medicine to do better for the future him (and his Love Interest).

    The second part is solely focus on what these new relationships and these new changes did to the actual history as we know it, his strong times to this old period, and the consequences of the things he’s done. Also, from some of the comments I read about the last episode, I think they may have cut the letter sent to anonymous-san? xD

  1. December 31, 2012

    […] but she did kinda win me over when she played Saki on that freaking successful jdrama known as JIN [1][2], which got me to give a peak to Ayase’s pop culture oeuvre — Hotaru no Hikari, […]

  2. May 5, 2016

    […] Sujoy Gosh and -surprisingly- Thomas Kim Hyunwoo who produced that god-awful Korean remake of Jin [1][2], Dr. Jin. Anyway~ she’s not! She’s as central as Amitabh Bachchan and Nawazuddin […]

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