Kazuhiko Komatsu, an emeritus professor and former director at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, claimed in a recent interview with Voice that the series Jujutsu Kaisen was a Japanese version of Harry Potter.
“In a nutshell, I thought it was the Japanese version of ‘Harry Potter’. ‘Jujutsu’ is a story about the main character and his friends growing up at the (Tokyo) Metropolitan Curse Technical College, which is very similar to the premise of ‘Harry Potter’ set in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” said Komatsu.
He also likened the idea of “curse” depicted in the series to “black magic” seen in the J.K. Rowling movies.
“… ‘curse’ is just one form of ‘magic’. As I mentioned earlier that the settings for ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ and ‘Harry Potter’ are similar, ‘Jujutsu’ can be regarded as synonymous with ‘Magic’. There are two types of ‘magic’, ‘white magic’ used for good purposes and ‘black magic’ used for bad purposes, but ‘curse’ is closer to ‘black magic’.”
He further added that Jujutsu Kaisen features some creatures called “cursed spirits” which are similar to the ghosts in Harry Potter. However, while Rowling’s masterpiece adopted a western context, Jujutsu Kaisen was based on Japanese history.
And though the youkai expert was impressed with how Gege Akutami represented curse as a medium that materializes from “negative emotions that flow out of humans”, he explained that the source of a “curse” is not always limited to humans, but includes all other animals and plants.
The idea of such theory stems from the belief in “animism” abided by the Japanese who were raised to think “that everything has a soul”.
He further explained when a person is hurt, they feel anger. This “anger” is the ultimate emotion that leads to the manifestation of mysterious power to attack the other party known as the “curse”.
Jujutsu Kaisen is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Gege Akutami. It is currently being serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump since March 2018. The Jujutsu Kaisen chapters are collected and published by Shueisha, with eighteen tankōbon volumes released as of December 2021.
The story follows high school student Yuji Itadori as he joins a secret organization of Jujutsu Sorcerers in order to kill a powerful Curse named Ryomen Sukuna, of whom Yuji becomes the host.
A 24-episode anime television series adaptation by MAPPA aired on MBS from October 2020 to March 2021. A movie adaptation of Jujutsu Kaisen prequel, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 premiered in Japan in December 2021.