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Change comes slowly to the Japanese film industry. The hagiographic biopic about a doctor, scientist or similarly distinguished personage — rarely seen in Hollywood since the days of Jack L. Warner and Louis B. Mayer — is still alive and well here.

The latest local example is “Miss Doc” (“Isha Sensei”), Jiro Nagase’s earnest and plodding, if instructive, biopic about Chikako Shida (1910-62), a pioneering doctor in rural Yamagata Prefecture. Though hardly as famous as the subjects of “The Story of Louis Pasteur” (1935) or “Madame Curie” (1943), Shida was not only the first woman from her native village of Oisawa (today known as Nishikawa) to attend a jogakko (prewar girls high school) and graduate from medical school but, on her return from Tokyo in 1935, became the village’s only practicing physician.

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