Koreeda Hirokazu, the director of works such as Shoplifters (2018) Nobody Knows (2004) and Broker (2022), will release a new drama series, The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House on Netflix this month. An event to commemorate the release of the series was held on January 9th at Mitsui Hall in Otemachi, Tokyo, with cast Mori Nana, Deguchi Natsuki, Makita Aju, Hashimoto Ai, and Koreeda all present. At the event, Koreeda proudly said, “I feel like I’m looking at my daughters’ glowing appearances when I’m standing next to these four, so I can’t help but to smile.”
Based on the manga of the same name by Koyama Aiko, the setting takes place in Kyoto’s geisha district. The plot surrounds the daily life of Kiyo (played by Mori Nana), who has become a cook who prepares meals in a house where maiko (future geishas in training), such as her best friend Sumire (played by Deguchi Natsuki) live together. Makita Aju plays the role of Ryoko, the daughter of the proprietress of the house, and Hashimoto Ai is Momoko, the most popular geisha.
Deguchi Natsuki recalled the hardships of learning how to act like a geisha, saying, “I had to fix my posture, and I had to learn how to dance. In order to get used to it even a little, I took the folding fan with me even when I left the set.”
Mori Nana was casted as Kiyo after auditions took place. Koreeda said, “I felt sorry to beckon Mori to the audition. However, I knew that I had to choose a girl who would fit in with this role the most, even if it happened to be a newcomer. In the middle of the audition, I realized that it would be impossible for someone other than Mori to do the role of Kiyo.” On the other hand, Mori said, “In the first audition, I thought I didn’t do well at becoming an ideal Kiyo. I went home crying so much that people thought something had happened. The second time around, Koreeda reassured me that everything was okay and that I didn’t need to cry anymore. That kind of kindness helped me portray Kiyo,” she said, expressing her gratitude.
At the end director Koreeda said, “I believe that this drama will be filled with hints about what kind of values we should have when interacting with people,” and closed the event.
All 9 episodes of “The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House” will be exclusively distributed worldwide on Netflix from January 12th.
Check out the poster and trailer for The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House below