Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan’s best known auteur film director and a Tokyo International Film Festival regular, has unveiled a suite of images from “The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House,” his debut drama series for streaming giant Netflix.

Kore-eda (“Broker,” “Like Father Like Son,” and Palme d’Or-winning “Shoplifters”) acts as producer, showrunner and co-writer of the show and directs some of the nine episodes.

Alongside Kore-eda, Kawamura Genki (“Confessions,” “Villain,” “Your Name,” “Mirai”) is producing. Up-and-coming directors including Tsuno Megumi (“Ten Years Japan”), Okuyama Hiroshi (“Jesus”), and Sato Takuma (“Any Crybabies Around?”) are also directing individual episodes. All four directors and Sunada Mami take screenwriting credits.

The series is based on the manga “Maiko-San Chi No Makanai-San” by Aiko Koyama (Weekly Shonen Sunday). Set in the Geiko district of Kyoto, the protagonist Kiyo becomes a Makanai, literally a person who cooks meals, at a house where Maiko (apprentice Geikos) 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 Geiko and Maiko courtesans and delicious food. The manga won the 65th Shogakukan Manga Award and is a best-seller with over 2.7 million copies sold.

Mori Nana plays Kiyo. Deguchi Natsuki plays Sumire, who comes from Aomori with Kiyo and is believed to be a “once-a-century talent” as a Maiko. Makita Aju plays Ryoko, the high school daughter of the manager of the Maiko House. Matsuzaka Keiko plays Chiyo, the previous manager of the Maiko House who still plays a key role in its operation. Hashimoto Ai, top star and Tokyo festival ambassador, plays Momoko, the most popular Geiko. Matsuoka Mayu plays Yoshino, a former peer of Momoko who decides to return back to the path of the Geiko. Tokiwa Takako plays Azusa, the manager of the Maiko House and Ryoko’s mother.

The show is produced through Story Inc. and Bun-Buku Inc. for Netflix. The streamer will release the series worldwide on Jan. 12, 2023.

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