The Makanai is a masterful adaptation of the Maiko-san chi manga.

At the heart of this story lies possibly my favorite friendship in all of manga and anime. Kiyo, played by Mori Nana, and Sumire, played by Deguchi Natsuki, are childhood friends from the Aomori Prefecture in Northern Japan who venture together to Kyoto. Through a set of circumstances that happen to align, Kiyo finds herself becoming the makanai or house chef for the “dormitory” or yakata where the maiko and the maiko trainees live. Sumire quickly becomes recognized as a gifted talent and becomes the rising star of her house. The two young women lovingly and enthusiastically support each other. Getting to observe their journey together is a simple joy to behold.

If your image of geisha culture has been shaped purely on many of the more popular representations, that often depict tragic stories of women trapped in lifestyles of abuse, debauchery, or destitution; please take the time to sit with this story of sublime sisterhood. These maiko and geiko are women dedicating their lives to an artistic craft. And much like in theater or film, there are a whole host of individuals who tirelessly work in the background to allow these artisans to shine. The Makani illuminates the collective efforts of those who seek to carry on the traditional art of Geisha culture, speaks to the concerns of those who seek to reform it, and holds at its core the beautiful bond of friendship between two young maidens navigating their professional and personal journeys.

3 responses to “The Makanai is a masterful adaptation of the Maiko-san chi manga.”

  1. I’ve only heard whispers about this series so far in the drama community, which is a shame! It sounds like a lovely manga, which I’ve heard about but yet to have read, that got a wonderful adaptation. Your review is so lovingly written, it was a pleasure to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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