The Makanai ending explained: Does Sumire become a Maiko?

Netflix’s drama series, ‘The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House’ follows two friends who move to Kyoto to become Maiko entertainers.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

Kiyo and Sumire, two inseparable friends move from their homes in the Aomori prefecture to Kyoto, with dreams of becoming a Maiko entertainer.

The welcome at the Yakata in Kyoto is warm and the Mothers and the Sisters there are all kind and helpful. Sumire, who’s a natural talent at performing the Mai, excels in the training, impressing all.

However, Kiyo struggles to keep up, and the teachers spot it as well. Her fumbles continue to the point where it’s decided that she best leave Kyoto and pursue something else.

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Kiyo and Sumire and heartbroken, but when the Makanai — the one who cooks for the Maiko — retires due to injury, and as a result, the girls get bored out of their minds eating the takeouts, Kiyo volunteers to make food.

Et voilà! Kiyo has found her calling, and she takes delight in cooking food for everyone at the Yakata, and without relenting no less. It brings her immense joy and slowly this leads to her becoming the official Makanai of the Maiko House.

Meanwhile, Sumire continues to excel and becomes a Maiko, a feat really impressive for her young age. In the meantime, they make strong bonds with all the members of the Maiko House as well as the longtime guests.

‘The Makanai’ ending explained in detail:

Does Sumire achieve her dream?

Yes, Sumire does achieve her dream of becoming a Maiko, in a relatively short amount of time as well. Right off the bat, Sumire excels in the Mai dance training and her teachers and superiors take note of it.

While Kiyo fumbles and then changes her course, Sumire sticks with her course and glides through the path of becoming a Maiko.

The decorated top Maiko — Momoko — takes note of Sumire and her hard work and soon begins mentoring her. She takes a liking to Sumire, something really peculiar for a reserved and strict person like her.

Sumire becomes a Maiko and is renamed. Her new name is derived from Momoko, combined with “Hana” as the suffix. Everyone calls her Momohana now, with the only exception being Kiyo, who is allowed to keep calling her best friend by her original name.

Is Kiyo happy with being the Makanai?

Everyone is a little hesitant to accept at face value, the idea that Kiyo is really satisfied assuming her role of the Makanai at the Yakata.

Ryoko asks Kiyo a couple of times if she’s really happy doing what she does, relentlessly making and serving everyone delightful dishes without any signs of stress or discontent.

However, Kiyo is only ever a little let down when people don’t get to eat the food made by her before it cools down. She’s delighted otherwise, in feeding everyone hearty dishes and coming up with different recipes, picking up the groceries, and cooking.

In the last episode of ‘The Makanai’, Sumire asks her if she has any regrets. Kiyo is confused as to what she’s alluding to; when Sumire says that it was she who first talked about becoming a Maiko and whether she got stuck with being a Makanai when she might have never wanted any of this.

However, Kiyo reassures her that she’s happy, telling her that she feels becoming the Makanai was her destiny.

Do Mr. Natabe and Mother Azusa end up together?

Mr. Natabe and Mother Azusa are deeply in love with each other. The entirety of ‘The Makanai’ sees the two love birds spend quality time going on dates.

However, Mr. Natabe is one scaredy cat in that he’s been postponing his proposal for a long time. A lot of people have nudged him into mustering up the courage soon, or it’ll be too late.

However, the season ends with Natabe ever confessing to Azusa. That doesn’t mean, however, that the two are oblivious to the mutual love they have for each other.

Mr. Natabe also confirms his love for Mother Azusa to her daughter Ryoko, reassuring her that he’ll take care of her mother and that his love won’t interfere with the life the mother and daughter share with each other.

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