Book review:『走れ外科医』by Yujiro Nakayama


Author: Yujiro Nakayama (中山祐次郎)
396 pages

This is the third novel in the series 泣くな研修医.

In the series, we follow young surgeon Ryuji Ameno as he takes care of his first patients and is overwhelmed by the amount of things to learn in 泣くな研修医, then we see him slowly but steadily gaining some experience in 逃げるな新外科医. In 走れ外科医, Ryuji has now gained confidence and becomes an inspiration for his younger colleague Rinko.


I absolutely loved the first book of the series because I found the character of Ryuji extremely relatable, and the novel was an excellent way to peek into the medical system of Japan. I learned a lot about medical procedures and Ryuji’s struggles felt very real. The second book was less powerful, but it was still very interesting to read, and I liked the introduction of the new character Rinko. It might be inevitable that the third novel should lose a bit of what makes the series so engrossing. As Ryuji becomes more experienced, the series also departs from its recipe, and while things get better for our protagonist, the novel might also feel less exciting for the reader.

But to be honest, I would have been perfectly happy to follow Ryuji in his daily tasks, meet new patients and accompany them during their stay at the hospital. With a more mature and experienced Ryuji, things would have been less chaotic than they used to be (though I guess he could also have been confronted with difficult cases), but still, it would have been good enough.

However, the author decided to take another course and try different things to diversify what is happening in the novel. First, we have a weird change in focus. I believe that the whole series has been told from Ryuji’s point of view without exception, so it felt very strange when we suddenly follow the point of view of two other characters. I found that it did not bring much. The episode where we follow Rei Sato, a senior doctor who has been mentoring Ryuji since book one, was very strange. We almost never get to know her during the whole series and suddenly, we are asked to follow her while she makes a life turning decision.

I have never been a fan of episodes with Haruka, Ryuji’s girlfriend. I always found them to be the weaker parts of the novels, and I had the same feeling here too. Their relationship seems artificial, I cannot feel that Ryuji really cares for Haruka or even has feelings for her. The scenes seem here only to check the case ”scenes with girlfriend”, and they feel uninspiring to me. Similarly, the episode where Ryuji visit his mother with Haruka felt rushed and didn’t lead anywhere. It felt like a mandatory episode that the author wanted to be over with as quickly as possible, which feels strange given how deeply episodes with his family must have affected Ryuji.

The last 100 pages of the novel where we see Ryuji and two other characters climbing mount Fuji were extremely boring to read to me. It is very long for a single episode (1/4 of the novel!) and I did not find it interesting at all. Nothing much happens, it is just a description of the climbing with dialogues that don’t seem to go farther than ”are you alright?”, ”I’m alright” and ”thank you so much”. Other readers might enjoy reading this kind of scenes, but it is not for me at all.

This book belongs to a series of medical fiction and this is the reason why I bought it, so I felt a little bit betrayed by the series at the end of the third book. I would have loved to learn more medical things or treat different illnesses with Ryuji rather than climb Mont Fuji for 100 pages. Maybe the author did not want to overwhelm the reader with too many medical explanations, but at the same time, this is certainly what you are looking for if you buy this book.

I find that the author really did a great job at teaching the reader some basic medical vocabulary and procedures in the first two novels. As a result, we are now used to the medical words our protagonist will use, and we are also familiar with his daily routine at the hospital. So I think that the author should have trusted the reader to be able to understand more advanced medical procedures, and it would have been nice to be confronted with more complicated health challenges as Ryuji gains experience. But it looks like the author wanted to address a more general public by writing a story of nice people hanging out together.

To me, this novel felt like it was written for the drama adaptation. All the characters felt more stereotyped, they just appear to play the part assigned to their character. The fact that we focus on several characters and that more space is given to friendship and relationships in general compared to medical challenges made me also feel like I was actually watching a drama rather than reading a novel.

Overall, the sudden change of point of view and the Mont Fuji episode made this novel much weaker to me than the previous ones. This being said, I don’t regret reading it. All the books of the series are easy and agreeable to read, and I heartily recommend to try the first novel, even if you are not particularly into medical fiction. I also think that the series is particularly good for language learners, because it is easy to read with a lot of dialogues and a lot of recurring vocabulary, which makes learning new words really rewarding.

Book review: 『逃げるな新人外科医』 by Yujiro Nakayama


Title: 『逃げるな新人外科医』 (ねげるな しんじん げかい)
Author: Yujiro Nakayama (中山裕次郎)
Publisher: 幻冬舎文庫
405 pages

Yujiro Nakayama is a surgeon and author of medical fiction and nonfiction. This novel is the second volume in the series 泣くな研修医. There is a drama adaptation as well.


I loved the first book of the series, 『泣くな研修医』, and I loved this one as well. I find that they are very similar, so if you liked one, you will certainly like the other too, though the first one may have been a little more impressive to me.

In this novel, our protagonist Ryuji has finished his internship and is now a surgeon, but he still has a lot of challenges to face. I found that the first novel pictured very well the awkward position of new doctors: even though they went through long studies to learn their job, it feels like they have to learn everything from scratch when they are faced with real patients.

In this second volume, Ryuji has gathered some experience, but he still makes mistakes and wonders if he can ever be a good doctor. His position is made even more delicate when he works with a new talented intern.

I find very interesting to see how Ryuji evolves, and I loved following his quest to gain confidence and become a good surgeon. I highly recommend to read the series in order for this reason.

All this being said, I also found that the scenes outside the hospital might be a bit weaker than the rest. In this novel, they mainly describe a romantic relationship, and they did not manage to make me feel involved or even interested. I found that the author is very good at picturing life and work inside the hospital, but the romantic scenes were not at the same level in my opinion.

I also found that the novel stays very minimalist in terms of characters. There are only two main patients in the whole novel and I find that the number of colleagues with whom Ryuji interacts is also limited. This makes for a quick and easy read, but this book is so good that I cannot help but wanting more: more stories, more patients, more cases, more colleagues, more challenging illnesses and fights for life.

Finally, I found that, similarly to the first novel, it would be great to know more about Ryuji’s family. The end of this novel was very brutal I found, and I wish it had given us more time to digest it.

In spite of these minor critics, I loved 『逃げるな新人外科医』, it reads extremely quickly, and it is a real page turner. I just wish that the story as a whole and the character of Ryuiji were a little deeper and more complex.

When it comes to the Japanese level, there is some medical vocabulary, but not as much as you would expect, and there are a lot of recurring words as well, so even if you are not familiar with medical words in Japanese, this should not be a problem. And if you intend to read the whole series (3 books) like me, the vocabulary you build up will be useful for the next books as well.

Book review: 『泣くな研修医』 by Yujiro Nakayama


Title: 『泣くな研修医』 (なくなけんしゅうい)
Author: Yujiro NAKAYAMA (中山祐次郎)
Published by 幻冬舎文庫
301 pages.

Yujiro Nakayama is a surgeon who has written several books of medical nonfiction. 『泣くな研修医』 is his first novel. It is followed by 『逃げるな新人外科医』.

Quick rating: 🥰
This is a novel that is engrossing from beginning to end, lets us learn a lot about the medical world, has emotional parts and an extremely relatable protagonist.


This is one of my favourite books read in 2020. I found it impossible to put down and was engrossed in it from beginning to end.

We follow Ryuji Amenori during his first year as a medical intern in Tokyo. Coming from the countryside, Ryuji has to get used to living in the capital and, most of all, find his place in the hospital and learn his job.

Following Ryuji in his daily tasks was fascinating, we learn a lot about how a hospital works and how difficult the job is. I particularly liked the realistic and sincere tone of the novel, as it does not show a heroic vision of the medical team that would do anything to save lives. On the contrary, Ryuji’s internship brings its lot of harsh realities.

The books also shows the difficulty of diagnosis through several cases of patients who come with vague symptoms such as stomach ache. Experience, rather than intellectual knowledge is key, and Ryuji learns the hard way that the years he spent studying medicine have not made him a doctor yet. Even something as simple as drawing a blood sample covers him with sweat.

As a result, it is very easy to identify with Ryuji even if you are not in the medical field. Being inexperienced in your job, making mistakes, not knowing how to interact with your superiors… this is all very relatable.

The only weaker point in the novel was maybe the part involving Ryuji’s personal life. As long as the novel stays focused on the hospital and medical procedures, it is excellent and engrossing, but the character of Ryuji, his family and his traumatic past could have been more developed in my opinion.

This being said, the novel stays a fantastic read. It was fascinating to dive into medical procedures and to follow Ryuji as he gets familiar with the medical jargon. I was also emotionally involved in the fate of Ryuji’s patients and the happy or tragic outcome of their stories.

To conclude, I really loved this book and did not want it to end. I heartily recommend it, even if you are not usually a reader of medical fiction. I will definitely include 『逃げるな新人外科医』 in my next order of Japanese books.