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The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House

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Ayana Dereef
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The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House

This is a great short series on Netflix that can give high school students a glimpse into Japanese History and Culture.  The content works well with the information presented in the Objects and Ritual in Japanese History seminar.  The series is unique in that it is set in modern times yet the life of the maiko strives to keep the traditional culture alive.  Because of this blend of modern and historical, students will find it easy to compare and contrast the differences.  I rewatched the series after the seminar and was able to appreciate more how culturally accurate the series was and how it helps to subtly dismiss a monolithic view of Japanese culture by showing some regional differences.  Topics addressed in the series that offer opportunity for students to do further research include: Maiko Hair, Kimono, Kanzashi, Ozashiki, Yasaka Shrine, Okera Mairi, Kadomatsu, Shiramine Shrine’s Monument of Kemari, and Minamiza Theatre and Kabuki.  Additionally, food as a part of ritual culture, which wasn’t addressed in the seminar, is shown throughout the series. (The series is based off of Kiyo in Kyoto manga by Aiko Koyama which can be incorporated in lessons.)