The Netflix Series ‘The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House’, a joint production between Netflix, Story Inc., and BUN-BUKU Inc., is set for global release on Netflix in 2022. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda will serve as showrunner, director, and writer for the nine-episode Netflix series drama adaptation of the original comic. This series will be the first Netflix production for the critically acclaimed creator to work on, who won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his film “Shoplifters” in 2018 as the first Japanese director in 21 years to achieve this.
The series is based on Maiko in Kyoto: From the Maiko House, a popular comic by Aiko Koyama first serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday from 2016. Set in the geisha district of Kyoto, the protagonist Kiyo becomes a Makanai (person who cooks meals) at a house where Maiko (apprentice geishas) live together. The story depicts the everyday life of Kiyo maiko Sumire, her childhood friend who came with her from Aomori to Kyoto, amid a vibrant world of geisha and maiko courtesans and delicious food. The comic won the 65th Shogakukan Manga Award and is a best-seller with over 1.8 million copies sold.
Nana Mori plays Kiyo, the Makanai at the Maiko House, Natsuki Deguchi plays Sumire, who comes from Aomori with Kiyo and is believed to be a “once-a-century talent” as a Maiko. Aju Makita plays Ryoko, the high school daughter of the manager of the Maiko House. Keiko Matsuzaka plays Chiyo, the previous manager of the Maiko House who still plays a key role in its operation. Ai Hashimoto plays Momoko, the most popular Geiko. Mayu Matsuoka plays Yoshino, a former peer of Momoko who decides to return back to the path of the Geiko. Takako Tokiwa plays Azusa, the manager of the Maiko House and Ryoko’s mother.
After graduating from junior high school, 16-year-old Kiyo leaves her home of Aomori and heads to Kyoto with her friend Sumire with dreams of becoming a beautiful maiko (apprentice geisha). However, she is told she is not suited to being one. As a tearful Kiyo is about to return to Aomori, her skill for cooking is discovered and she is hired as a makanai, a cook for a house where maiko live together. During this time, Sumire rapidly grows into a beautiful maiko and becomes famous along the streets of the traditional Gion town. The beautiful, fun, and delicious days of a makanai and a maiko start here.