Kitchen samurai comes to UVic

Free showing of Japanese feature film Tuesday at Cinecenta Theatre

The Consulate General of Japan is bringing a free screening of the 2013 Japanese feature film A Tale of Samurai Cooking — A True Love Story to the Cinecenta Theatre in the University of Victoria Student Union Building Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Adapted from the wildly popular manga by Mari Yamazaki and winner of the 2010 Manga Grand Prix and the 14th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize – Short Story Award, the story revolves around Haru, an impetuous recent divorcee with superb culinary skills.  The samurai chef of the Kaga Clan tries to persuade her to marry his son, Yasunobu Funaki, who will inherit the role of “kitchen samurai” as chief cook for the clan lord. However, Yasunobu has no talent whatsoever in the kitchen and Haru is the perfect match to teach him how to cook if she will marry him and help the clan.

“Here on Canada’s west coast, Japanese cuisine and sushi in particular have gained much popularity and so a film about traditional Japanese cuisine will be something many people can appreciate from first-hand experience eating Japanese food,” said cultural section officer Ikue Matsumoto.

For generations, the Funaki samurai have wielded the kitchen knife instead of the sword as the Kaga clan’s chefs or “kitchen samurai.”  Regularly preparing food for the nobility, their skills have made Kaga cuisine legendary.

However, Yasunobu has no talent whatsoever in the kitchen and Haru is the perfect match to teach him how to cook if she will marry him and help the clan.

“I hope that the film will be a light-hearted and entertaining way for people to increase their appreciation of the traditions of Japanese food with its unique nuances and also create greater understanding of the cultural of Japan,” said Matsumoto.

For their roles in this film, Aya Ueto and Kimiko Yo were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, at the 2013 Japan Academy Awards.

Free admission to this film presentation is made possible through sponsorship by The Japan Foundation, the branch of the Japanese government that supports the arts.  It is supported locally by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society.