Tenno No Ryoriban : A Must Watch Dorama of Sato Takeru


The poster of TNR

Title : Tenno No Ryoriban / The Emperor's Cook
Genre : human drama, romance, biography
Episode : 12
Broadcast time : Spring 2015
Theme song : Yume Miru Hito by Masashi Sada

Sato Takeru as Akiyama Tokuzo
Kuroki Haru as Takahama Toshiko
Suzuki Ryohei as Akiyama Shutaro
Kiritani Kenta as Shintaro Matsui
Tasuku Emoto as Tatsukichi Yamagami
Kobayashi Kaoru as Asami

I thought that Kimura Takuya's I'm Home was the best dorama for spring 2015. I was wrong. The best dorama for the season is undoubtedly Tenno no Ryoriban (TNR) aka Emperor's Cook. It portrays the life of Akiyama Tokuzo - the  legendary head chef of Emperor Hirohito. The lead role, Sato Takeru once again proved that he is one of the best young actors in Japan. Together with Kuroki Haru, Suzuki Ryuhei and other perfect casts, Sato Takeru makes Tenno no Ryoriban becomes not only the best but also most heartwarming and inspirative dorama ever. "Never give up on your dream and believe in yourself and love of all the people around you.", I got this line in my mind after watching TNR. If you are really a Jdorama fan, you should not miss this wonderful dorama.

Review, Peeling the Dorama


Based on non-fictional biography novel by Hisahide Sugimori, Tenno no Ryoriban depicts the life of Akiyama Tokuzo. I haven't read the novel but after watching TNR dorama, I begin to search about this great chef in real life. I really wanted to know about him as the result of watching the dorama. Akiyama Tokuzo died in 1976. This dorama successfully portrays Akiyama's life in beautiful way, from his teenage days in early 20th century to his old days when he retires being the emperor's cook in 1972. I found it is funny, sad, warm, encouraging, and emotional while watching this dorama.


The story is started with 15 years old Akiyama Tokuzo who is sent home in drunk condition by 2 monks of a Buddhist temple where Tokuzo has stayed for several months trying to be a monk. It is not the first time Tokuzo failed to become something. He is such an easy bored person who can't stay in one job more than 3 months. He used to tried various jobs, from Kendo instructor, soldier, and even a rice market spectator. He is easyly absorbed in his job but also bored in a short time, 3 months. His older brother - Akiyama Shutaro  who is a diligent law student in Tokyo said that Tokuzo has just yet found something he's interested in, yet found his calling. That is so true, isn't it? When we haven't found our life calling, we'll always be bored and get tired of everything. But, not a lot people struggle for their calling. How about you? Me? I think I haven't found all of it tho. :(

Worrying about their son's condition, Tokuzo's parents makes Tokuzo gets married into Takahama family in Sabae,. He get married with Takahama Toshiko - a soft hearted girl in the same age as him. Not long after his marriage, Tokuzo met  Tanabe Yukichi , a cook of Sabae Army Infantry Regiment who also introduces Tokuzo to culinary world. The western style beef cutlet is a first key for Tokuzo to know his life's calling. With that, his adventure has just begun. The road to the world-class chef, the best chef in Japan, the emperor's cook has started.

Tanabe Yukichi (Hideaki Ito) who introduced Tokuzo to french cuisine
First cutlet that changed Tokuzo's life (Oishii!)

Tokuzo then moves to Tokyo, leaves behind his wife and new family, to get training about western food.  (Frankly, I really do not understand the way he thinks. How could he leave his family without saying nothing?!)  Through his brother's connection, Tokuzo is accepted as an apprentice or kitchen helper in Kazoku Kaikan, a western restaurant for aristochrat in Tokyo. The chef leader who will also next become Tokuzo's teacher is Usami san. Here, Tokuzo also will meet his best friends - Shintaro Matsui who  and Tatsukichi Yamagami - another kitchen helper at Kazoku Kaikan. Here, Tokuzo starts to realize that path toward his dream is a tough and difficult. And, the most important thing  to be a good cook is a sincere heart.   

Tokuzo's first time visiting a western restaurant in Tokyo, (Just after this, he will cut his lips! lol)

Toshiko divorced Tokuzo so he can pursue his dream. (so sad here)

Due to some accident, Tokuzo is fired from Kazoku Kaikan. This makes his family angry and his in law family in Sabae wants him to divorce Toshiko.  Next, he starts to stay and work at Banzai-ken,  a small traditional japanese restaurant. While Tokuzo is busy with his problems, he doesn't realize that his older brother is sick from a serious illness and Toshiko has miscarriage of his baby. Toshiko then divorced Tokuzo, to free him achieving his dream. Never give up of his calling, Tokuzo leaves Tokyo and goes to Paris, France to get more serious training, with support from people around him especially his sick older brother.

 The path toward his dream is not that easy. He must face hardship for being an only Asian in his new workplace. Even, he is called with the nickname 'monkey'. But, with patience and hard work he proves that he has the best talent to be the best cook. Then, he is acknowledged as the first Asian cook who has legal certificate as a professional  cook and work for Ritz Hotel- one of the best restaurant in France. There, Tokuzo works under supervision of the best cook at the time.  Tokuzo's success story makes the Japanese Empire wants to hire him as the Imperial cook. Then, Tokuzo goes back to Japan.

Shshhhh... He's cooking with a very serious expression!

Tokuzo in France (img source: here)

I almost forgot to mention that while in Paris, Tokuzo falls in love with a woman named Francoise. He also meets his best friend Shintaro who is hoping to be a great painting artist there, but fails.

Tokuzo's life as the Imperial cook then begins. His first job is a big success and the story about him becomes the family's pride. His older brother, Shuntaro  dies with a peaceful smile knowing Tokuzo now is a great person. Tokuzo also meets his ex-wife - Toshiko and they starts a new family again. His life as the emperor's cook and head of his family continues. He has 2 sons and 1 daughter. So many things he goes through. The saddest thing is when Toshiko died and leaves him. Soon, he realizes that Toshiko would never leave him. She is always around him wherever she is.

Time passes by and then difficult time has come. It is the war time and post-war. As the country that lost at the war, Japan is in very hard situation. Even, Emperor's situation is in danger. The destiny of the country is on the America's hand. Tokuzo, with all his might, wants to protect the emperor. He does so many things even he must swallow his pride and temper. And, together with colleagues he serves the  emperor and the Japan empire splendidly. Until then, 1972, when he is retired as the emperor's cook.


OMG! I love Sato Takeru so bad. He improves his skill in acting. He portrays the life of a legend cook heartfully. How do I know? I feel it. I feel the warm feeling by watching this dorama. You deserve an award Sato! And Haru is also very good. I don't know why, but I think that she is very good in portraying a good japanese housewife in that era with the low voice, the smile, the attitude, etc. She's a lovely woman. How she devotes her life for her family is really awesome. One more stunning character is Akiyama Shutaro - Tokuzo's nii yan. You will never ask for more for a kind brother like that. I was always cries when the I put my self in Shutaro's side. So sad but beautiful. Suzuki Ryuhei deserves an award too! :D

Suzuki Ryohei as Akiyama Shutaro, a very special character that deserves more attention

I want to mention one by one all of the best casts of this dorama but that seems too much. All I wanna say is that all the casts are awesome. Good job for all of you! Oops,... I need to say that only one cast that I think is not good enough. The cast for Francoise, the French girl who Tokuzo falls in France. How can I say but she's not the type that I can call beautiful or cute or whatever. I'm so sorry, but for me, she's not a good match to SatoTakeru . Or, is it me that got jealous? Lol

How can I not jealous with her!!!

 Setting and Costumes

Nothing to complain. I love both the scenes in Japan or France. Thanks for taking me a walk around Tokyo almost 100 years ago. The main street that shows Tokyo that time and the now condition that shown in ending song is very memorable. Is that the main road near the government building centers? I think I have visited that place in my trip last year. They look similar.

And the costume, ehm... Do you have complaint? Me, not! Maybe because other aspects are good so the detail becomes not a matter anymore. Does it? Or may be, it is really good? I think the last one is the answer. I like the most the women's costumes. I like the kimono or yukata or whatever it like. They are just so cute and girlish. Ahhh... I want to wear it too! Yeah, next time for sure. Hee...

OST and theme song

Awesome! I like the OST and theme song. The music did a really good job in dramatizing the story. Whenever the sad music was played, I was always almost to cry. In the last episode, I cried for along time tho. And the song, Yume Miru Hito sung by Masashi Sada, its lyrics is so meaningful. I love it! It really defines what is the meaning of pursuing a dream and follow the our passion in life. It suits well with Akiyama Tokuzo's life. Well written lyrics, it is!

Check this out! MV for Yume Miru Hito by Masashi Sada

Last but not least ( I think I will add some points to this review in my next free time), I just want to say that this dorama is awesome! Look at my high score for TNR! :D


6 komentar: Leave Your Comments

  1. Mantab emang bagus banget nih dorama

  2. Mantab emang bagus banget nih dorama

    1. Iya. Benar sekali. Aku sampai berkaca-kaca waktu itu pas nonton. 😊. Makasih sudah komen.

  3. kasih tau terjemahan liriknya dong kak..

    1. Hehehe. Sayangnya Bahasa Jepang aku masih cekak banget. Dulu sempat sedikit tahu arti liriknya dari episode terakhir doramanya, di situ diterjemahin sama subbernya. Belajar dulu ya saya..

  4. Et bien, je dirais que cette sĂ©rie est bien jolie. Dommage de faire passer les Français pour des abrutis et de les faire jouer par des Ă©trangers. L'actrice qui joue "Françoise" parle français comme je parle japonais. Et celui qui joue "Auguste Escoffier" : Ridicule !! Les Français ne sont pas aussi exubĂ©rants (ce ne sont pas des italiens)! Et mĂȘme si je n'ai pas compris grand chose quand Sato Takeru parlait français. J'ai adorĂ© l'entendre. Il est craquant.