The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House Ending Explained

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A fitting conclusion stays true to the show’s themes and relationships.

This article contains spoilers for The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House Season 1 Episode 9, “Passage”, including a candid discussion of the ending of The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House Season 1.


The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko Housea nine-episode slice-of-life drama by Hirokazu Kore-eda (shoplifters) and adapted from the manga series by Aiko Koyama Kiyo in Kyoto: From the Maiko Houseis unusually warm and cosy Netflix Series about the power of good food and the enduring bonds of friendship. It is defined by its heartfelt story of a pivotal friendship between two 16-year-olds, Kiyo and Sumire, but also touches on some long-standing traditions and their place in a contemporary context.

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House Season 1 Episode 9 Summary

The show begins with Kiyo and Sumire leaving their rural hometown to train at a maiko home, where they train with a half-dozen “sisters” and two doting “mothers” to become geiko apprentices, or geishas, ​​though rules and staunch traditionalism still exist widespread. I was expecting the show’s tone to take a darker turn, but it doesn’t, instead settling into a steady, everyday rhythm while the house, cramped as it is, becomes an intimate backdrop for character development and light drama will.

Crucially, Sumire takes the training well, but the clumsy Kiyo doesn’t, and he faces expulsion from the program. She is horrified at the possibility of having to break her promise to Sumire to be with her forever, but she discovers not only a passion but an obvious talent for cooking and becomes the makanai, or traditional cook, of the house where she cooks wonderful, hearty meals for the sisters and mothers as they continue to support Sumire in her education and development.

This is the form the show takes throughout. Individual episodes revolve around everyday things like a lottery, a fun performance in homage to George A. Romero Night of the Living Deadand things like that, but the overarching storyline is the growth of Sumire and Kiyo in their specific roles over the course of about a year.

Kiyo’s cooking skills give us a sense of the general feeling of the house, and she prepares specific dishes for specific characters based on what is happening in their lives. The other girls warmly describe their relationship with Sumire as that of an old married couple, given how well they know each other and how relaxed they are in each other’s company. The show begins and ends with the two eating, talking and laughing together, and that’s no coincidence – the story is about the power of friendship, and that friendship is almost fantastic in its strength and enduring.

The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House Ending Explained

What matters is the juxtaposition of the girls’ respective achievements and how united they remain despite their different paths. Sumire eventually debuts as momohana, an honorary title for the best mai performers, mai being a form of traditional Japanese dance. Meanwhile, Kiyo continues to fill her role in the Maiko House’s kitchen, fulfilling multiple roles for all who stay there and remaining closely linked to Sumire’s success. Keeping her promise to stay by her best friend’s side while finding her true love in traditional cooking, everyone gets exactly what they want for once.

You can stream The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House Season 1 Episode 9, “Passage” exclusively on Netflix. Do you have any thoughts on the ending of The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House Season 1? Let us know in the comments.


Additional reading:

https://readysteadycut.com/2023/01/12/the-makanai-cooking-for-the-maiko-house-ending/ The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House Ending Explained

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