This story probably isn’t coming to a theatre near you any time soon, but it certainly sounds like something straight out of a movie.

In the tiny village of Kamikoani, Akita prefecture, the sole medical practitioner has thrown her hands up and admitted defeat. Amid rumours of bullying and harassment, Dr. Ijiri has become the third doctor to hand in her notice in as many years. Previous GPs in the village reportedly left for similar reasons, and are quoted as saying that “the job was simply too much to bear” and that they were “slandered” by rumour and vicious talk amongst the townspeople.

But when word arrives that a 71-year-old specialist has decided to pick up the gauntlet, the tale takes an interesting turn…

With just 2,759 people living in Kamikoani as of August this year, the village does not have its own permanent doctor. Rather, a doctor is hired from an outside area who then becomes responsible for the physical and mental well-being of the entire village’s population. A role that comes with numerous challenges, it would seem.

Although it’s hard to verify the extent to which the allegations of bullying and slander are true, a quick trip to Kamikoani’s entry on Japanese Wikipedia leads us to believe that quite a drama has been unfolding up north, with the writer of the entry even going so far as to use the term “monster patients”.

While it’s worth bearing in mind the old phrase “one bad apple spoils the barrel”, and that the opinions expressed online are not necessarily a fair evaluation of the entire town’s population, with three doctors in a row packing their bags, it’s clear that something is amiss in Kamikoani.

Hardships previous doctors in the town are reported to have faced include patients becoming angry at the doctor (who works alone, remember) for making them to wait while they go to a nearby shop to buy some bread to snack on in lieu of a proper lunch, villagers being displeased that the doctor took a day off during a national public holiday along with everyone else, and being accused of using taxpayers’ money for additions to the front of their home, despite having paid for them out of their own pockets.

As unsettling a story as this, and with many netizens despairing that “if adults are resorting to behaviour like this, there’s not hope for the country”, the tale takes a much more interesting twist when we learn a little more about Kamikoani’s newest doctor.

Dr Isamu Nishimura, a general practitioner and something of an expert in human psychology, contacted Kamikoani’s city offices upon seeing the advertisement for a replacement doctor on the village’s official website. As well as having years of practical experience, Dr Nishimura is also, as a Japanese internet user was quick to point out, the author of a book titled “The Human Phenomenon: Philosophy and Experimental Study”.

The news of the good doctor’s impending arrival was noted by eagle-eyed netizens who soon took to online message boards in order to alert the country that “the final battle” between the notorious village and the master of minds is about to go down.

With the town having such a poor reputation with regard to its treatment of visiting medical practitioners  and with Dr Nishimura having so much experience, it seems odd that he would apply for the post of town doctor as Dr Nishimura has.


“He’s doing it for research! He has to be!”

Japanese netizens are already keen to see how the next few months will play out, with many suspecting that the town’s newest doctor is either taking on the role for the purposes of psychological research for a new book, or simply challenging himself. Whatever the case, the people are clearly behind him:

“That place sounds pretty nasty, but I bet he’ll stick it out!” cheered one internet user. “I’m sure the new doc will get plenty of research done up there…” chuckled another.

Perhaps seeing the familiar pattern of a Hollywood movie script in the real-life events, another Twitter user suggested that she’s excitedly hanging on for a movie adaptation, and that the arrival of the new doctor was “incredibly heart-warming.”

Whether Dr. Nishimura is, indeed, taking the position with a view to conducting further research into mass psychology and group mentality, or whether he’s just extremely bad-ass and wants to lay down the law in a seemingly tough working environment remains to be seen.

Whatever the case, we wish him the best of luck- with the job, his next book, and, possibly, his forthcoming illustrious movie career…

Source: Hamster Sokuhou