Maiko and Geisha – Symbols of Kyoto
If you have visited the Japan’s old capital of Kyoto or even thinking of visiting there, it is likely that you have already heard about the young girls working there called maiko. Maiko in Kyoto are famous and to those who are well-versed in Japanese traditional culture they may be also known as young apprentice of female professional performers, geisha. It is not an exaggeration to say that these young women are symbols of the city of Kyoto, Japan. Maiko are actually quite young and they are most likely to be 15 to 20 years old.
It is necessary for them to spend four to five years or even more training in the classical Japanese arts and traditional performances before they are able to work as geisha as a profession and earn money.
Maiko is getting even more popular because of a TV drama
In fact, Maiko in Kyoto got popular recently based on a recent Netflix movie concerning. The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House.
It is a story about a young country girl from rural Aomori Prefecture who came to Kyoto to be a maiko. Instead of becoming a maiko, she ended up becoming a makanai meaning a chef who prepares meals for maiko in a maiko house.
The narration shows the journey of a young girl who is tasked with cooking for a traditional Japanese maiko house, in Kyoto. The film explores the unique challenges and rewards of cooking for the maiko, who are known for their strict dietary guidelines and adherence to traditional customs and etiquette.
The film starts with the protagonist, a young and ambitious country girl who is given the opportunity to work in a maiko house. At first, she struggles to adapt to the new and unfamiliar environment, as well as the strict dietary guidelines that the maiko must follow. However, as she begins to understand the traditional customs and etiquette of the geisha profession, she starts to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of makanai, a traditional Japanese cooking style that is often used in maiko houses.
Makanai foods in the drama
It is a Netflix original movie that is set to showcase the traditional Japanese culture and the importance of the makanai cooking style. It also highlights the journey of a chef adapting to the customs and traditions of the maiko house and the personal growth she experiences along the way. It is a must-watch for foodies and people interested in Japanese culture.
Cooking for a maiko house, or a traditional Japanese geisha house is a unique and challenging task that requires a deep understanding of traditional Japanese cuisine and culture. The maiko, or geisha apprentices, live and work in the hanamachi, or “flower towns,” of Kyoto, Japan, and their diet must adhere to strict guidelines to maintain their health and energy levels, as well as to uphold the traditional customs and etiquette of the geisha profession.
One of the key features of makanai cooking is the use of seasonal ingredients. The chefs in the maiko house will source local, fresh and seasonal ingredients to use in their dishes. This ensures that the dishes are not only delicious but also nutritious, as the ingredients are at the peak of their flavor and nutritional value. Additionally, using seasonal ingredients is a way to showcase the local culture and traditions of the area.
Despite the challenges, many young women in Kyoto still aspire to become maiko, and the tradition continues to be an important part of the city’s cultural heritage. While some may view the profession as outdated and restrictive, the maiko is celebrated for their dedication and skill, and they play an important role in preserving and promoting traditional Japanese culture.
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