Out of all the Japanese shows that I have watched so far (and there have been a lot), The Good Doctor, Jimmy, and Midnight Diner, have been some of my favorites. However, after watching my latest Japanese drama, The Emperor’s Cook, I can definitely say that this is my favorite drama so far (subject to change in the future though).
I really loved watching The Emperor’s Cook, as it had a bit of everything I like. The story was relatable, as it is about the true story of a former Japanese chef named Akiyama Tokuzo. Tokuzo struggled in his childhood to find something he really enjoyed, and he was always jumping from one subject to the next. Tokuzo also had personal struggles, as he could never quite live up to the expectations of his family and friends (and thus was always searching for things to do).
When he was in his late teens and early 20s though, Tokuzo discovered cooking, and found that he really enjoyed it. This became his passion, and it consumed him to be the best chef in Japan. This led him on an incredible journey where he started as a dishwasher before working his way up to becoming a cook, and then having the opportunity to study cooking in France before eventually coming back to Japan to be the head chef for the Emperor. I am not sure how much of it is the true story of Tokuzo and how much was embellished, but it was incredibly entertaining to watch and learn about.
Another thing The Emperor’s Cook did really well was to incorporate actual Japanese history into the show. Throughout the show, they talked about events that were occurring at certain points in Tokuzo’s life, whether it be the war with Russia, the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, or World War II. This helped to give good perspective to what was going on around the time Tokuzo was on his life’s journey.
Finally though, The Emperor’s Cook had so many incredible characters, and did a great job of giving each of them their own distinct parts. When you watch it, you will find that there are 10+ characters who have decent size roles in the drama, and who all impact Tokuzo in a large way. Furthermore, the drama is really emotional and touching, showing the struggles of Tokuzo’s life while also remaining incredibly positive. Overall, it was just the best Japanese drama yet, and I am really glad that I found it in this byFood article!
The Emperor’s Cook Recommendation Rating: 5
This post has now been updated to reflect a new ratings system that I have implemented, which is scored as follows:
1: Something worth checking out if you have time
2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone
3: Something worth prioritizing if interested
4: Something worth making time to check out
5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for
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