Kitchen (キッチン)is a novel written by Japanese author Banana Yoshimoto (吉本ばなな)in 1988 and translated into English in 1993 by Megan Backus.

Although one may notice a certain Western influence in Yoshimoto's style, Kitchen is still critically recognized as an example of contemporary Japanese literature; The Independent, The Times and The New Yorker have all reviewed the novel favorably.

Most editions also include a novella entitled Moonlight Shadow, which is also a tragedy dealing with loss and love.

There have been two films made of the story, a Japanese TV movie in 1989 and a more widely released version produced in Hong Kong by Yim Ho in 1997.


In Kitchen, a young Japanese woman named Mikage Sakurai struggles to overcome the death of her grandmother. She gradually grows close to one of her grandmother's friends, Yuichi, from a flower shop and ends up staying with him and his transgender mother, Eriko.

From Mikage's love of kitchens to her job as a culinary teacher's assistant to the multiple scenes in which food is merely present, Kitchen is a short window into the life of a young Japanese woman and her discoveries about food and love amongst a background of tragedy.

In Moonlight Shadow, a woman named Satsuki loses her boyfriend Hitoshi in an accident and tells us: "The night he died my soul went away to some other place and I couldn't bring it back". She becomes friendly with his brother Hiiragi, whose girlfriend died in the same crash. On one insomniac night out walking she meets a strange woman called Urara who has also lost someone. Urara introduces her to the mystical experience of The Weaver Festival Phenomenon, which she hopes will cauterize their collective grief.

  • 6th Kaien Newcomer Writers Prize – November 1987[1]
  • 39th Best Newcomer Artists – August 1988[1]
Book information

Kitchen (English edition) by Banana Yoshimoto

  • Hardcover – ISBN 0-8021-1516-0 published by Grove Press
  • Paperback – ISBN 0-671-88018-7 published by Washington Square Press
  1. ^ a b Banana Yoshimoto – profile
External links
  • New York Times review
  • Kitchen (1989 Japan) on IMDb
  • Kitchen (1997 Hong Kong) on IMDb

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