Japanese Lessons

Japanese Lessons: Learn Japanese from Manga 1-5-1

Manga: Give My Regards to Black Jack

*These Japanese lessons are created based on the Terms of Use of the Copyrights of them; TITLE: Give My Regards to Black Jack, AUTHOR: Shuho Sato, and WEBSITE: Manga on Web.

Japanese Lessons 1-5-1 外科げかないきょく斎藤さいとう / Surgery, Internists, Departments, and Saito

A scene in Give My Regards to Black Jack


You can browse all of the pages by clicking the picture above and then move to any page via 「もく」 at the left. When you need English translations or explanations, please return here and refer them. This article covers from page 145 to page 164.

Japanese Script with Furigana and English Translation

あた温泉おんせん)(Atami Hot Springs.)


“Say, why are we lining up these busts, anyway? “Remember? That whole Eiroku thing is today.”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Expression

れいの」  sometimes indicates negative nuance and could be translated as “in question”.



“Please, join me! Say hello to our beloved teacher, Dr. Kasukabe!”


(The 91st Eiroku University 1st Dept. of Surgery Meet-Up)


“This is my 91st surgery department trip. It’s all thanks to your hard work that the department has become what it is today. Relax in the hot spring, have a drink or three… Forget about work today and just enjoy yourselves.” “Check out this crowd. Are all these people seriously from our department?” “I don’t want to keep you too long, so I’ll leave you with this… If you’re looking to get drunk, alcohol really de-livers!”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Expression

This is a Japanese pun between 「肝臓かんぞう (liver)」 and 「いかんぞう」. If we plainly said the latter phrase, it would be like「いけないぞ」. 「いけない」 means prohibition like “must not” and that’s equivalent to its dialect; 「いかん」. 「ぞ」 is a sentence-ending particle indicating emphasis. 「う」 is just an elongated sound.



“Hey, what are you doing, Dr. Shiratori?” “Shirts off, you guys! It’s the first dept. of surgery loincloth lift up!! ” “Ka-su-ka-be! Hip, hip, hooray! Ka-su-ka-be! Hip, hip, hooray!”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Expression

「こうれい」 is usually written in Kanji like this 「恒例こうれい」. However, in Japanese, some people don’t prefer writing some words in Kanji in row. We guess that’s why the author used Hiragana on purpose.



“This is a doctor’s world, Saito. Take a good, close look… Doctors are no different from company employees. Sheer skill alone won’t get you anywhere here. But enough wheeling and dealing in this “company” and you’ll go far.”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Grammar

「~とはかぎらない」 is often seen when people try to explain something or persuade someone. That can be translated as “not always” or “not necessarily” and can be used like this 「たかいものがかならやすいものよりもいとはかぎらないよ。 (Expensive things are not always better than cheap things)」.



Most people are probably familiar with the phrase “clinical” department. In university hospitals, each medical specialty creates a community known as a “department”: the 1st Dept. of Surgery, the 1st Dept of Internal Medicine, the Dept of Ophthalmology. Indeed, just about every doctor, whether in a university hospital, public hospital, private Hospital, or a local family practice is an alum of some university hospitals clinical department.

One Point Lesson: Japanese Vocabulary

This expression; 「おぼえ」 can be literally translated as “have heard” and is utilized for other purpose as well such as 「おぼえ (have seen)」.


教授きょうじゅ、ウチの病院びょういんにもうすこしベテラン医師いしまわしてもらえませんか?」 「教授きょうじゅ、どうかわたくし*助教授じょきょうじゅに…。」

“Doctor! We could really use more veteran doctors at our hospital…” “Oh, Dr. Kasukabe! Please let me be your assistant professor.”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Expression

「め」 is a suffix indicating your humility. However, that’s used in very formal situations or when joking. In this manga, the author tried to express how ridiculous it is to respect the doctor as Gods using 「め」.



So if you’re not at a university hospital, why take directions from a clinical department?


“Long live Kasukabe and 1st surgeryyy!”


Japanese hospitals are almost all affiliated with some university hospital or other. Hospital A is affiliated with Tokyo University, Hospital B with Keio University, and so on.


“The chief of staff at my hospital just changed our affiliation to Y University…”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Vocabulary

「系」 can indicate “group”, “lineage” or “system”.


もちろん系列けいれつとはいえ本関係ほんかんけいがあるわけではない。しかし大学だいがくきょくはその系列病院けいれつびょういんじんけんにぎっている*のである。もしも民間病院みんかんびょういんあらたな医師いし必要ひつようとしたあい、その病院びょういん大学だいがくきょく相談そうだんして医師いしけんしてもらう。つまり民間病院みんかんびょういん医師いしかく大学だいがくきょくたよるしかなく、医師いしきょく所属しょぞくしないと就職しゅうしょくさきつけることはむずしい。けっしてそむけないしきという意味いみで “きょくマフィア”なんてひともいるくらいだ!そしてじんけんふくめ、きょく全権力ぜんけんりょくにぎるのがきょくのドンたる教授きょうじゅということになる。

These affiliations aren’t financial ones, of course. But university clinical departments have authority over personnel in their affiliate hospitals. If a private hospital needs a new doctor, they’ll discuss it with the university’s clinical department, who’ll send one over. In other words, private hospitals have to ask the university to find them a doctor, and if a doctor doesn’t belong to any department, good luck finding a place to work. There’s no escaping from this organization, which is why some people even call it the “Medical Mafia”! And who wields the department’s power over HR and everything else? The department’s idiot teachers, that’s who.

One Point Lesson: Japanese Vocabulary

にぎる」 means “to clasp”, “to grasp” or “to grip” and can be used for intangible things such as 「権力けんりょく (power)」 and 「みつ (secret)」.



“In a clinical department, the teachers are gods. Whether you soar high or crash and burn is entirely up to them.”


“Severe Inflammation around the appendix… We’ll separate it, starting from the adhesion at the root.” “Yes, doctor!”


“Maybe I’m not cut out for surgery.” “Huh?” “No matter how good you are, you’ll never make it big if you can’t work the system. And I can’t get used to that. ”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Vocabulary

わたじょう」 is a Japanese idiom and means “good at getting on in the world”.



“Nothing to do with surgery particularly. Surgery, internal medicine — it’s the same wherever you go. But, hell, surgery might not be the place for you after all. It’s more a rough-and-tumble, phys-ed kind of world. Look forget all that! It’s date night!” “not again…”


One Point Lesson: Japanese Culture

In Japan’s school days, a certain number of students participate in sport club activities. Some of the sport clubs have highly strict discipline and force students to be obedient and to do anything that superior people want. That’s like an army. A world like this can be called 「体育会たいいくかい」.


かんきゅう憩室けいしつ) (Nurses’ Break Room)

「ヘイヘイかんさーん、ごうコンしないかーい*しゃって女性じょせい結婚けっこんしたいあいのナンバー1 なんだぜ、イエーイ。」「研修けんしゅうって給料きゅうりょうやすいじゃん。かんもないしプライドだけはたかいし、結婚相けっこんあいには最低さいていね。」「くそー、んでやるー、はくてん使なんていないんだー。」

“Hello, Ladies! Feel like going out tonight? Women always wanna marry doctors, amirite? Aw, yeah!” “An intern’s salary is the pits. No money, no time — but plenty of pride. Not an ideal husband, if you ask me.” “That does it! Might as well of myself! So much for the angel in white…”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Expression

If people elongate the end of sentences, the tone will be casual and this expression may be considered as kind of joking.



“Doctor! The woman in 509 is vomiting blood!”


What’s the point of medicine? To protect people from illness and injury? Then why all the departments… and the tyrants in them? What is a doctor, anyway…?


“Ahh… Nothing beats the beer you sneak out to drink after your shift.” “Geez, Dr. Shiratori… That woman ended up dead.” “Stop being so self-conscious. How can you work if you let everything get to you?” “Almost September already. Your internship with 1st surgery is nearly over. You interns will be spending time with all kinds of specialties from here on out. But listen, Dr. Saito… I expect you to come back to 1st surgery when it’s all over.” “Dr. Shiratori? Why do we have to be part of a department, anyway?” “Well, it’s not mandatory, of course… But without one, you’re on your own with your post-internship job hunt. And even if you do happen to find a position at some hospital, the chief and the department heads will save the best jobs for those in the university’s clinical department. The fast track is hopeless. You can barely write a thesis if you can’t do basic research — and forget about getting a degree. Then you’re left eking out an existence at a tiny private hospital as a “rogue doctor”. I don’t know what your beef is with the department system, but it’s up to you to take charge and fix it.”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Vocabulary

「こっそり」 is a Japanese onomatopoeia. This indicates “in private” or “in secret” and is used like this 「こっそり彼女かのじょがみわたした。(I slipped the letter to her)」.



And with those words, my internship at the 1st Dept. of Surgery was over.


September. Our new internship — our new lives — were just beginning. 1st Dept. of Internal Medicine. At Eiroku, cardiovascular disease — things like hypertension and angina that chiefly affect the heart — is also called cardiovascular medicine.


“Ladies and gentlemen, do you know what’s in this box? When it comes time to find out, all those surgeons can do is open the box and look inside. But we keep it closed and guess what’s inside based on its weight or the sound it makes. That’s internal medicine.”

One Point Lesson: Japanese Vocabulary

連中れんちゅう」 can be translated as “lot”. This has a negative nuance and is used when people look down on someone.



“I’m Kume. I’ll be your attending. Let’s go meet your patient. In here.”


Kazuo Miyamura, 38 years old. Little did I know I would soon be bravely battling the “Medical Mafia” over this very patient.

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