Film Review: A Tale of Samurai Cooking: A True Love Story

Set during the Edo period in Japan (which took place through the 17th, 18th and most of the 19th Century) A Tale of Samurai Cooking follows a young cook whose skill in the kitchen earns her the attention of a famous cook who wants her to marry his son to teach him to be good enough to follow in the family tradition. The Edo period was a time of great stability in Japan and so samurai were often forced to find work which had nothing to do with warfare. Yosunobu becomes his parents’ only son when his elder brother, the one initially intended to become a cook, dies, leaving it up to Yosunobu to give up his swordplay for the kitchen knife.

Haru is the talented one in the film, and our protagonist, but due to the role of women in Japanese society at this time, her impact on the world is made through how she teaches her husband Yosunobu. Although this is somewhat a film of the foodie genre, the story we are to follow is that between the growing love between Haru and Yosunobu, whose relationship doesn’t get off to the most swimming of starts. Yosunobou disdains the fact that he must give up his sword-fighting for kitchen work, and for him the imposition of Haru on his life is a representation of this task which he sees as unwelcome and degrading. Released exclusively at the IFI from the 02 January 2015. Watch the trailer here.

Stephen Murphy

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