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From swords to kitchen knives

From swords to kitchen knives

KARACHI: Taking one back to Japan’s Edo period, a film titled A Tale of Samurai Cooking was aired at the Japanese film festival on Tuesday in which a fiery band of samurais have turned into kitchen samurais.

The film is a love story but also narrates a tale of honour, duty and sacrifice.

Its protagonist Oharu (spring), a maid, marries Yasunobu in what becomes a battle in their personal lives, translating beautifully in the kitchen.

Oharu is tasked by her father-in-law to revive the waning passion of Yasunobu, who resents giving up the life of the sword for kitchen knives after the death of his elder brother. 

The film festival, according to Japanese Consul General Toshikazu Isomura, was held as film “is an effective way of communicating the culture and lifestyle of one country to another. It also reflects a real picture of society”.

And the choice of time is apt as it is set in the Edo period (1603-1868) within the Kaga domain, specifically in the home of samurai chefs.

The struggle of men and women during political and social turmoil is captured sensitively against the backdrop of scrumptious dishes of Japanese cuisine. 

Oharu is not a passive protagonist and challenges her husband every time he disrespects his occupation as a kitchen samurai.

She is subversive of traditional gender roles and earns the title of “vixen” for challenging her husband to do better as a chef. It is Oharu’s culinary genius that comes in handy and solidifies her place in the Funaki household. 

As the film focuses on the culinary arts, the audience falls in love with Japanese flavours.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2017

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