Are Jinshi and Ah-Duo Related in The Apothecary Diaries?

Like looking in a mirror, but what could be the reason?

by J.R. Waugh
Ah-Duo Jinshi Related The Apothecary Diaries
Image: ©Hyuganatsu, Imagica Infos/“The Apothecary Diaries” Project

The Apothecary Diaries has had some pretty brilliant and compelling stories brought wonderfully to life in anime form. While the protagonist, Maomao, has solved a ton of medical mysteries by now, a new secret emerges. Are Jinshi and Ah-Duo related in The Apothecary Diaries?

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Is Jinshi a Relative of Ah-Duo in The Apothecary Diaries?

As viewers might have been surprised to learn, Ah-Duo is the biological mother of Jinshi in The Apothecary Diaries. Jinshi was switched at birth with the Empress dowager’s son, knowing he’d live a safer, more comfortable life in this position.

Related: The Apothecary Diaries: What Is the Significance of Jinshi’s Hairpin?

The clues began showing themselves in Episode 10 when she noted Ah-Duo’s familiar features but crystallized in Episode 11 when she was able to compare the two. She shared a drink with Ah-Duo at the location where a servant previously committed suicide in Episode 9, and a key detail was revealed. Ah-Duo claimed her son “left her”, instead of the very public perceived death of her child.

Why Did Ah-Duo Switch Jinshi At Birth?

Aside from protecting her son, Maomao acknowledged that this decision could have been made under duress. After all, the child would have been just born, and Ah-Duo wanted more than anything for her son to be safe and happy. This also makes Jinshi’s story a lot more interesting despite him already being an enigmatic figure. Seeing him reduced to tears, desperately drunkenly hugging Maomao was unexpected.

However, when Ah-Duo’s position as a pure concubine at the Garnet Pavilion came to an end, the drink he got to share with her was a bittersweet moment. It was a reunion of mother and child before she had to leave, and this prospect is heartbreaking. Ah-Duo lived a lie to protect her son, concealing her motherhood, with only traces of it being allowed to show when she said goodbye to the young concubine Lishu.

- This article was updated on December 16th, 2023

About The Author

J.R. is a Staff Writer with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. is streaming his favorite RPGs and other forgotten gems.