Episode 4: Disappearing from Edo
Time passes and it is the winter of 1865 … … Now under the supervision of the Satsuma domain, Ryoma sets up a maritime shipping company called Kameyama Shachu with his buddies. He also meets Nakaoka Shintaro and they hit it off. Shintaro is a fellow samurai who has left Tosa and is under the supervision of the Choshu domain. The two of them run about with their sights set on a reconciliation between Choshu and Satsuma. However, Ryoma has to be assigned two bodyguards because he is being pursued by policemen in the service of the shogunate. To his surprise, one of the bodyguards is Higashi, the Choshu warrior he had saved during the earlier Choshu-Satsuma skirmish.
Meanwhile, at Jinyudo, Jin successfully completes a centrifuge to test blood types and is currently searching for a way to make powdered penicillin. He has resolved to seize the moment and to change the future of this era after Saki’s rejection.
One day, Taki visits Jin with a request from the shogunate for Jin to examine Ehime, the wife of the feudal lord of Kawagoe domain, for a lump. Marital relations with her husband had deteriorated as the lump grew bigger, and it appears that she had returned home to enter a nunnery. Ehime hails from a branch of the Tokugawa family and the duty to continue the lineage falls on her because her husband had married into the family. Jin accepts the request and heads for Kawagoe with Saki. Along the way, they stop by at an inn in the post-town of Ooi and encounter a young girl called Ohatsu. In the instant when Jin comes into contact with Ohatsu’s hand as he is about to accept tea from her, he has a strange sensation as if electricity were running through him … …!
Upon their arrival at the Matsudaira villa in Kawagoe, Ehime, who has heard that Jin is a Edo town physician, curtly tells him that treatment is useless, and dismisses them. However, her composure falters when a female servant informs her about the birth of a child between her husband and a concubine. They eventually manage to gain Ehime’s acceptance after some persuasion from Saki.
Saki, who was granted a private audience with Ehime, had offered a comb bearing the crests of the Tokugawas as well as the royal family to Ehime for her hair, knowing that she would recognise them. While Ehime gazed at the comb in astonishment, Saki quickly took the opportunity to assure her that Jin can be trusted. Even though he is a mere town physician, he is so famous that he has been given gifts by Princess Kazunomiya.
She had also confided in Ehime the thoughts that went through her mind while watching Jin fold an origami ‘flying squid’ for Ohatsu and play with the girl:
“There is actually a person whom I love dearly too.
But we definitely cannot be together.
Because I was obstinate.
It is a stubbornness that one must have as a person.
I don’t regret it.
Although … there are times when I would unexpectedly visualise …
life with him … and a child who looks like him … …
It won’t do any good to be stubborn.”
In the end, it is determined that Ehime’s lump can be removed with surgery because it is benign. Then Jin discovers that she has spoon-shaped nails which raises the possibility that the anemic Ehime may not be able to endure profuse blood loss during surgery. His solution is blood transfusion, a concept foreign to people of that period. Ehime is taken aback by the thought of having another person’s blood injected into her body, but still decides to go ahead since there is no other way. She specifies that she wants the donors to be from her family. However, when Jin broaches the topic to them, they protest vehemently, finding the idea of blood transfusion preposterous as well as odious.
Ehime, who has overheard the exchange, expresses sorrow at their reactions. She declares that this blood will run in the children she plans to have with her husband once the the lump is removed. This is why she wants her family to be the donors. Just as she turns to leave, her grandmother speaks up and offers to have her blood tested, and it spurs the rest of the family to follow her example. Ehime’s surgery is a success.
On the other hand, Ryoma has been busy mediating between representatives of the Choshu and Satsuma domains. Katsura Kogoro of Choshu is impatient with the Satsuma officials who have not begun talks on the pact even though they have been in Kyoto for 10 days. The Choshu domain has been branded a rebel army for their uprisings against the shogunate and pushed into a corner. Nevertheless, Katsura refuses to be the one to reach out to Satsuma to ask for help even though it means that Choshu will be ruined if Satsuma sends an army during the next Choshu expedition.
An exasperated Ryoma dashes off to confront Saigo. Saigo’s comrade, Okubo Toshimichi, dismissively says there is no reason for Satsuma to go to the trouble to initiate talks or form an alliance with Choshu. Annoyed, Ryoma demands that Saigo show everyone the scar on his stomach.
“This stomach has a scar left by Minakata Jin!
When it looked like you were about to die and everyone was against the surgery that would cut up your stomach,
you did an about face and refused surgery, didn’t you?
What did Minaka Jin do at that time, huh?
He went down on his knees to plead with you to let him treat you!
He offered you a lifeline in front of everyone.
He didn’t have to say that, did he?
So you should empathise with Choshu!!!”
These words hit their mark, and sets the wheels in motion for an alliance between the Choshu and Satsuma domains. But that night, Ryoma and his bodyguards are ambushed at Teradaya by policemen who have come to arrest him for plotting to overthrow the shogunate. Intense fighting breaks out … …
Jin and Saki stop by at the same inn in the post-town of Ooi on their way back to Edo. Their relationship has been awkward ever since she turned him down. Just as Jin tries to find out if Saki had rejected him because he might disappear at anytime, they are interrupted by frantic cries.
To their horror, they discover that Ohatsu, who had been playing with the origami flying squid, got herself impaled on a tree branch when she tumbled down a slope. She is barely conscious and shows signs of an abdominal haemorrhage. Seeing Jin, she weakly lifts up her hand clutching the origami flying squid and sadly apologises to him for crushing it. That sensation of electricity shoots through Jin again when he grasps her hand!
Jin hurries to operate on Ohatsu. But he is seized by another headache, and the sudden realisation that his body is slowly disappearing. Why is this happening when he is trying to save her!?!
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Thanks so much for the recap!
To be honest I was a little let down by the first 3 episodes, thinking they were just dragging things along for the sake of it, but episode 4 really blew things away! LOVED IT 🙂
This is the JIN that I miss!