Learning through Translating: ブラックジャックによろしく episode 4: 夏雲

I agree that your first paragraphs are mostly stereotypes and I’m not sure how they represent reality. You might be right, don’t get me wrong, but I’m wary of stereotypes in general, they sometimes shoehorn simplicity into things which are nuanced and complex.

Regarding women at university, it’s improving but is it significantly improving?

I really enjoyed reading your take on the manga. I don’t agree with some parts but it’s fun to read your interpretations.

But, as mentioned, women could still be present although not as doctors. Also, there would only be single sex characters in written fiction if you could only write about your own gender. This doesn’t invalidates that might not feel comfortable writing female characters.

… which after four episodes is a shortcoming by my standards and expectations.

My idea is that being an idealist doesn’t mean he needs to be limited to Saitou=idealist character cardboard cutout. I’m an idealist myself but there’s more to me than just that. The character would have more depth if it wasn’t just an outlet to call out the hypocrisy of the medical system.

I think this is the author’s aim. We couldn’t find any interview or source indicating he had insider knowledge. Ayamatori found some info according to which his dispute with the publishing house was because the medical research wasn’t done “properly”.

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Of course, most certainly, and being able to portray characters of both sexes realistically is a sign of skill and empathy. However, well (and this is where I’ll sound politically incorrect)… I’d rather not that he put a female character in just for the sake of it. Every character in a story needs a role to play, and for now, I can’t see what other roles the author might need in the story. In Episode 3 and in what we’ve seen of Episode 4, Saitou has been quite self-absorbed, constantly thinking about what he’s seen recently, so it’s just as well that there are few other characters, male or female, to disturb his thoughts. All we need for now is a bunch of characters to drive the story forward, and we have them: the other intern is Saitou’s foil, since he doesn’t seem quite as idealistic about being a doctor. He’s just there to learn how to do his job and get paid. Shiratori seems to be a representation of a possible future for Saitou, since he seems quite principled, but at the same time, is still involved in the financial machinations of the story. ‘God’s Hands’ seems like he’s just there to get paid, and couldn’t care less what happens to patients. These characters and their actions force Saitou to think about whether or not his ideals truly have a place in the medical sector. I can definitely imagine an inspirational female character appearing somewhere down the line. She might not be a doctor. She might be a nurse, or even just someone at the hospital reception, who has learnt to deal with the sordid side of the medical world without becoming disillusioned and losing hope. However, even if that were done, it’s still perfectly possible that the writer would seem sexist, because… oh, IDK, the female character would be too ‘angelic’, or her great empathy might have something to do with her femininity… I have nothing against well-developed female characters: one of the series I’m following now is a fantasy series in which the women regularly contribute a lot more than the men, and help the men pick themselves up. However, if the author was unable or unwilling to develop even the characters we’ve seen so far, then it’s a good thing that he avoided bringing in more characters. (I don’t know the rest of the story, so I can’t say for sure.)

As for what you said about idealism not needing to be a cookie cutter framework… you’re right. I’m quite an idealist myself, but I think we may have different ways of being idealistic, and we may not always approach things using our idealism. However, well… let’s just say that disillusionment can take time to set in. I don’t think I was with you guys when you were doing episode 2, but it seems like it took the whole of episode 3 to settle the surgery and the removal of life support. As far as I can tell, there were probably 3 major events leading up to this episode:

  1. Introduction of Saitou and his life in medical school
  2. The 当直のバイト during with Saitou ‘failed’
  3. The surgery

So honestly, at least up to now, not much has happened in each episode. It’s no surprise that the characters are still mostly flat. Personally, I think this pace is OK provided that Saitou’s recent experiences push him to change his approach to being a doctor, since we can view whatever’s happened so far as a wake-up call that has shocked him deeply, meaning he needs some time to recollect himself and move forward.

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Ah yes, ok, I understand your preferences better and your interpretation about the writer’s intention.

Well, a female character wouldn’t have to be angelic. I would hope she would have more depth than that.

Honestly I hope they’re not related to the support role of “helping men to pick themselves up” because that would be pretty sexist :hot_face:. Besides, I don’t why anyone would have anything against “well-developed characters”. If something is well developed it’s by it’s very definition desirable.

Definitely. It’s not an ‘either/of’ kind of situation though. It’s not:
A. Put a female character for the sake of it.
B. Don’t put one.

There’s also:
C. Put a female because it adds to the realism of the depiction of the world.

I’m glad you’re enjoying the story more than I am. At the end of the day, it depends on personal preferences. I like deep, complex and human characters, fables have never been my thing. I’d say Tom Joad in the Grapes of Wrath is a believable idealist character.

Personal preferences are not meant to argued about anyway. You either like something or prefer something else, different stroke for different folks as they say. What you perceive as a slow-burn development I perceive as storytelling which is too stagnant for its own good. This reflects in my personality however, I like when things change continuously, I get bored quickly of routine in general.

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I don't really know what to say, because the main character *is* male, but most of the other men in the story are pretty bad at their jobs, and hey, even the main character is flawed and needs to overcome a lot of deep-seated hurt and grudges, so... Let's just say that I don't feel that's the only role of the women in the story, and they definitely have agency as characters in their own right.

There are a lot of parallel universes involved, and in one of them, the main ‘hero’ is actually a heroine, with most of her team being female as well. Also, if you want a particular example, there’s this girl who’s initially bullied a lot as the subordinate of one of the guys, but she’s eventually the one who helps him redeem himself. (You might still see that as a support role. I don’t really see it that way because she wasn’t his subordinate anymore at that point, and she had really matured. A lot of stuff happened in between.) The men and women in the story have rather different strengths, and I find it ultimately rather fitting that the men change because of the positive influence of the women, because they have important traits that the men don’t. My point is just that none of the characters are particularly flat, the one who’s consistently evil aside, but even for her, there’s the question of why she’s so bad, and that’s worthy of investigation. The series I’m talking about is Japanese though, so I’m not surprised to find that the men and the women tend to have certain typical ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ traits, and in all honesty (and I don’t mean to offend anyone by saying this), I would probably be quite disturbed by a series in which men and women act in exactly the same way. Men and women are different, and some traits tend to be more prevalent in one sex than the other. That of course may not be due to biological differences, but the least we can say is that a story in which there is no sexual difference is rather unrealistic. In any case, in the story I’m thinking about, the characters are quite varied, and it’s not as though (speech patterns aside, perhaps) all female characters have the same ‘typically female’ traits, just as the men each have their own personalities and flaws.

Then again, it’s possible that I’m biased, because I grew up in Asia, so I’m quite used to traditional gender roles and willing to accept them, even if I don’t think they’re all equally applicable to modern life, and I find that some of them, or the rules based on them, are frankly stupid. It’s possible that I might not see the same things as ‘sexist’. But anyhow, even if we just work with that summary blurb^, there are ways to spin this as sexist, like ‘women cleaning up men’s messes’, even though if all the characters were male, we might just see one character inspiring another character and teaching him to see how he really should act. That’s what I meant by this:

An angelic/clearly good-hearted female character in story about the sordid medical world could in fact be very inspirational for Saitou, because she might have managed to stay cheerful, keep patients at the heart of her medical practice and not lose sight of her ideals… but these qualities might lead readers to label her as the ‘angelic female’ archetype, and thus decide to label the author as sexist. Do you see what I mean?

I’m very much into analysing and over-thinking things, so I understand your desire to get a feel for the author’s intentions and why the story is progressing so slowly. I’m also not denying that the Japanese medical sector has problems with sexism: the first time I heard about the sexist entrance exams for medical school that @ayamedori mentioned, I was quite surprised. That’s not at all right. Why should women’s commitment be questioned just because they can get pregnant, particularly when we recognise the value of doctors who have experience as parents? However… well, first of all, I’m not really paying attention to the story. I’m just making inferences from all the translations that I’ve reviewed or done myself, so I’m not at all invested in this story. That may be why I didn’t pay attention to the lack of female characters in any capacity other than that of a nurse. :sweat_smile: Secondly, I haven’t found anything I particularly dislike in the story so far (I may feel that Shiratori was intentionally drawn to look unpleasantly stern, or that Saitou is a bit melodramatic, but these are minor issues), so I prefer to suspend judgement. The author’s intentions should become clear with time, and all the decisions he made could have been a result of his target audience: in shoujo manga (which are mostly romantic), men are often just ornaments. In shounen manga, the same is true for women. We’ll ultimately only know what the point of this manga was when we get further into it, and that’s when I’ll decide whether it’s really worth reading, or if it’s just something we should stick to for grammar. :stuck_out_tongue: For the moment, I’ll admit that I don’t find it very interesting, but I’m just here for the translations and to see if anything meaningful happens next.

~たい is a suffix that attaches to the 連用形 (i-form) of verbs and gives a nuance of “to want to (verb)”
死ぬ + たい -> 死にたい, I want to die.
たい (like ない) conjugates as an adjective;
so 死にたくない, I don’t want to die.
(and ない -> ねえ is accent)




Do something for me, doctor...

なんとか (何とか) : something (I feel it more emphatic than just 何か)
してくれよ : する in て形 + the 助動詞 (helper verb) くれる, that gives a nuance of “to do for someone”. くれる being an 一段動詞, it makes the imperative form with よ


A doctor is called "master" because he is excellent, isn't he?

偉い (えらい) : great, admirable
呼ぶ (よぶ) is to call, invoke, summon; The verb is in passive form (よばれる), and continuous state ~ている (with “i” slurred). In passive the verb is used (like in English too) to tell the name given to someone.
Then nominalized with の, and sentence ends with だろう (shortened); which is like “it seems that”, or requesting confirmation (a form of the coppula implying doubt)

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I think it’s likely maternity leave which essentially cause problem to some employer more so than their potential investment into the actual work. I mean, speculating here.

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Well… I’ll admit that’s the argument that came to mind the last time I discussed this with a friend.

Random 'economic benefits vs social benefits' rambling by a non-economist

Economically speaking, from a short-term, ‘amount of work done’ perspective, it makes sense for employers to say that women will potentially ‘produce less’ if they get pregnant. (No offence meant to any of the women on this thread, who have been making valuable contributions. I’m saying this from a very cold, calculating, numerical perspective, with no human element.) It’s the same sort of logic that makes employers hesitant to hire people with chronic health problems. Anyone who cannot commit fully to working as much as possible for the company is a potential ‘waste of salary money’. This was undoubtedly the sort of logic that motivated employers in Europe and America in the era where twelve-hour work days at factories were common, before massive protests and the like forced reform.

However, a substantial amount of work done by a capable employee is better than passing up on that employee because of a ‘risk’ of absence, and even if it might make economic sense to pay employees less when they’re on leave (be it sick leave, vacation leave or parental leave), making concessions for parental leave helps buy employees’ loyalty, since they’re assured that company policy will support their freedom of choice, which might motivate them to work harder. It’s of course also ‘family-friendly’, since having parental leave with a minimal loss of income makes having children more economically practicable. Also, while women are physiologically obliged to bear the brunt of the effects of child-bearing, we might find that balancing parental leave between men and women allows a quicker return to work (it’s hard for a parent to keep up with work if he/she has to handle most of the child-rearing alone), and that it avoids putting women at an unfair disadvantage when looking for employment, since the company will be expecting to give a person of either sex the same amount of parental leave.

The short version of my argument is that even if it makes numerical, economic sense (in the short term) to pay someone less if he or she is unable to commit as much, generosity and balanced parental leave might help buy employee loyalty and encourage equal sharing of childcare responsibilities. Also, it allows more people (particularly women) to be recruited on the basis of their talents, which enlarges the labour pool. (Part of why Abe’s government has been pushing for more women to enter the workforce is because it would greatly boost Japan’s economy, possibly by 15% if all eligible women returned to work, if I remember correctly.)

Now then… I’ll translate 33, if no one’s done it yet…

@ayamedori PS: I happened to see you starting to type a reply before going off. I hope none of us has said something to offend you. It’s not at all ideal that we’ve been discussing issues affecting women in the workplace without women participating, so I hope we didn’t say anything insensitive.


たとえ 意識 を 回復 する 可能性 が 1% しか なかった として も……
even-if consciousness [object] recovery do possibility [subject] 1% not-more exist-not-past consider-TE [inclusion]

Even assuming that the chances of recovering consciousness were no more than 1%...

たとえ: ‘even’ or ‘even if’. I’d say it’s used to strengthen the contrast between the condition that comes after ‘if’ and the main clause. It’s working together with the ~ても at the end of this clause.
可能性: ‘the character of being possible’=the possibility/chances/probability
~しかない: a structure that indicates that what is considered does not exceed ~
として: て-form of とする, which means ‘to take as/to consider as’. I translated it as ‘assuming’ because ‘to take as’ wasn’t as clear here, and ‘considering’ would make it sound like the ‘1% probability’ was a fact, which is something I don’t know.

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Woman in the workplace is a delicate topic so I think it’s better not to delve too much into so I won’t comment any further on that subject. It’s not that it’s a “wrong” topic but it’s getting closer and closer to politics and those never, ever end well :sweat:.

It was an interesting conversation to have about the peripherals of the manga (for me anyway!), it’s a nice change.


I might have mentioned this show before, but in Doctor X the main character is pretty much the opposite of what you describe - she’s a very skillful female surgeon who hates the system and is only in it to save people, not to be nice to them. It’s a good watch, but that aside haha.

It’s not a literary masterpiece at all, but I think Black Jack is quite fun as a quick read - after all we’ve only worked through half of the first volume maybe? While usually I’d read one manga volume in maybe an hour. The main thing that bothers me is how Saitou does feel a lot like just a vehicle (and a very melodramatic one at that), like @Zizka mentioned. I know where the story is going and I understand why he’s written that way, but he could’ve done with a little subtlety…

Oh no not at all! I went offline because I didn’t want to let my dinner grow cold :sweat_smile: to be honest I don’t even have much to add because I’ve never experienced sexism-related problems - 75% of my med school is female and I’m lucky to live in a very liberal environment in a big city in northwestern Europe. I know the situation is much different in Japan and I’ve had a few lengthy discussions about that with Japanese friends, but when I lived/stayed there myself I was always able to pull the foreigner card so I don’t think it’s my place to talk about it. And with that said, let’s stay away from politics indeed.

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I say London. I can just imagine her explaining everything Japanese with a thick, British accent.


Ha, just the image I was going for. Though you’re off by about 350km :shushing_face: Compared to the size of London though, might as well be a village…

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I’ve seen advertisements for it on the Japanese cable channels back in my home country. It looks like it would be really interesting to watch. She’s very business-like, and she stands up for what she believes in. She reminds me of my mother, actually. :joy: I guess Saitou might find someone like that inspirational, but I can’t see her fitting into Blackjack’s universe.

Anyhow, yes, indeed, politics are a headache. Interesting change of pace nonetheless. Hope everyone’s finding the manga easier and easier to understand. (I’m starting to feel like most of the grammatical structures that are turning up now have appeared earlier in the manga, たとえ aside.)

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I pictured you to be a Russian at first, getting extra early to stand with a your hand on your chest and singing your national anthem for the Mother Land on a daily basis.

You have unusual fields of interest for a young student. I don’t know any students who have learned Japanese and who know that ayamadori is a type of bird. I mean Jonapedia is pretty unusual too speaking many languages as he does.


By the way you guys are not updating the first thread when you pick a number, I don’t want to have to do it like a mom picking up a dirty pair of socks left laying on the porch :triumph: Everyone’s responsible for their own translation around here.

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I find your comparison quite amusing. :joy: I’m still used to the times when the first post wasn’t editable. Sorry. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve removed 32 and 33 from the list of untranslated speech bubbles. I’m currently wondering if there’s really a need to paste the translations in the first post as we go along though… but I guess it’ll make compiling stuff on the home thread easier, so I’ll go post the translations for 32 and 33 up there. It would probably be good to post instructions somewhere on what to do each time we translate something, in case somebody decides to join us. Maybe on the first post (or on the home thread). Then we can link the home thread to the first post and vice versa. Just an idea.

As far as languages and I go… well, I was exposed to etymology very young via Merriam-Webster dictionaries, but I didn’t really try to be multilingual until after my immersion trip in Paris, which was followed by my discovery of Assimil. That’s when I found I really enjoyed learning languages, and it seems I wasn’t too bad at it, so I wanted to see how many I could learn. I guess I’m just lucky that my first three languages were English, Chinese and French, because that way, I got three major language families/writing systems straightaway: Germanic languages, Romance languages, and the Chinese writing system (which helps since Chinese was like the Latin of East Asia at some point).

EDIT: OK, added translations for #31-33 to the first post.



More gender-equal close-up:


どうせ:in any case;
()ぬなら: if death (if he is dead);
(はら) stomach (I believe like in the samurai ritual of hara-kiri);
()けろ: open in the imperative! He won’t get me twice on that one, last time I didn’t know but know I could spot it with my eyes closed.

:speech_balloon:In the case that he will die, open the stomach
Note :eye:‍:left_speech_bubble:: I think this is a sentence we did before in episode 2.


なら usually applies to the whole clause/block before it, and 死ぬ is the verb ‘to die’. ‘Death’ would be 死(し). I usually think of なら as meaning ‘in the case that/of’. So it needs to be parsed as [どうせ死ぬ]→なら. Your translation is missing the meaning of どうせ. The other interpretations seem just fine though. :slight_smile:


But I put “in the case” at the beginning of my translation. Maybe I should’ve put “in any case” instead.

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Hm… How else do I explain this… another way of translating ~なら is ‘if ~’ i.e. ‘if ~ is true’. Also, どうせ comes from どう and せよ, which is the written imperative of する, and is often used for hypothetical things, like いずれにせよ (roughly ‘whichever (one) choses’, from the structure ‘~にする’, which means ‘to choose/decide on ~’). Therefore, どうせ literally translates to ‘however (one) does i.e. acts’. That might help you understand, along with parsing the sentence as I said: [どうせ死ぬ]→なら. That is, translate どうせ死ぬ first, then add the meaning of なら.

Here are two possible translations of everything up to なら if you don’t quite see what I’m getting at:

‘If (he) will die no matter what,…’[/spoiler] OR [spoiler]‘In the case that he will die no matter what,…’

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