Japanese Kore-eda Hirokazu Puts The Makanai As Netflix Series Debut

Kore-eda Hirokazu, director of “Shoplifters,” has put “The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House” as his first production series for Netflix. The show is a direct adaptation of an original comedy.

Kore-eda previously teased his commitment to a movie and series with Netflix but did not reveal the details of either.

“The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House” will be a co-production between Netflix and Story Inc. and the Bun-Buku Corporation of which Kore-eda is involved. It is scheduled for a global release on Netflix later in 2022. Kore-eda will serve as presenter, co-director, and writer of the nine-episode adaptation.

The series is based on “Maiko in Kyoto: From the Maiko House”, a popular graphic novel by Koyama Aiko, first published on Weekly Shonen Sunday of 2016. The series takes place in the geisha district of Kyoto, and the protagonist becomes Kiyo of Makanai ( the person who cooks the meals) in a house where the apprentices live an army together. The story depicts the daily life of Kiyo Maiko Sumire, her childhood friend who came with her from Aomori to Kyoto, amidst a vibrant world of geisha and maiko concubines and delicious food.

The graphic novel won the 65th Shogakukan Manga Award and is a bestseller with over 1.8 million copies sold. Adapted script written by Kore Ida, Sunada Mami, Tsuno Megumi, Okuyama Hiroshi and Sato Takuma.

Besides Kore-eda, Kawamura Genki (“Confessions,” “Villain”, “Your Name”, “Mirai”) will produce. Rising directors such as Tsuno Megumi (“Ten Years Japan”), Okuyama Hiroshi (“Jesus”), and Sato Takuma (“Are there Crybabies around?”) will direct individual episodes.

Mori Nana is set to play Kiyo, the Makanai in Maiko House. Deguchi Natsuki plays Somer, who comes from Aomori with Kyo and believes he is a “once in a century talent” as Maiko. Makita Ago plays Ryoko, the high school daughter of a Maiko house manager. Matsuzaka Kiko plays Chiyo, the former manager of Maiko House who still plays a major role in its operation. Hashimoto Ai plays Momoko, the most famous geisha. Matsuoka Mayo plays Yoshino, a former classmate of Momoko who has decided to return to the geisha path. Tokiwa Takako plays Azusa, Maiko’s house manager and Ryoko’s mother.

“After receiving the offer from Kawamura, I visited Gion several times. There, I was surprised at how the people living in the maiko houses were like a family without blood ties, and how the whole town felt like a living being connected to telephone wires,” Koreida said in a prepared statement. This is not the story of the people left behind by the times, but a story that may provide us with a hint of how to live in a post-COVID world.”

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