“The only one that didn’t break was Rinko Kikuchi, the girl. She never complained… I asked Rinko her secret and she said ‘I think of gummi bears and flowers.’ I try to do that in my life now.” - Guillermo del Toro
Ichiriki Chaya (一力茶屋, Ichiriki Teahouse)(formally Ichiriki-tei (一力亭?, Ichiriki House)) is one of the most famous and historic ochaya (geisha “tea house”) in Kyoto, Japan. It is located at the southeast corner of Shijō Street and Hanami Lane, with its entrance on Hanami Lane (Hanami Lane is the heart of the district of Gion). It is considered an exclusive and high-end establishment; access is invitation only and entertainment can cost upwards of 800,000 yen a night. Ichiriki Chaya is over 300 years old, and has been a major centerpiece of Gion since the beginning of the entertainment district. Like other ochaya in Gion, Ichiriki was a place where men of status and power went to be entertained by Geisha, who distracted guests through dancing, banter, and flirtation. Ichiriki has traditionally entertained those of political and business power. The house is run by the Sugiura (杉浦) family, and the nameplate on the entrance gate reads Sugiura Jirou(u)emon (杉浦治郎右衛門), the name of the ninth generation head.
The noren curtain at the entrance features the characters ichi (–, one) and riki (力, strength) printed in black on a dark red ground, stacked vertically and touching, so they resemble the character man (万, myriad, ten thousand). It is said that the establishment was originally called yorozuya (万屋, general store), but in the play Kanadehon Chūshingura (仮名手本忠臣蔵) (a telling of the story of the forty-seven ronin, based on events at the house – see below) the name was changed by splitting the character into 一 and 力, disguising the name (names were disguised in the play to avoid censorship). Due to the play being a major success, this was then adopted by the house itself, yielding the present name. —- The Ichiriki plays a part in the events of the Akō vendetta, a historical event described by some scholars as a Japanese “national legend”. Near the start of the eighteenth century, a group of samurai find themselves left masterless, ronin, after their daimyo is forced to commit the ritual suicide of seppuku for the crime of drawing a sword and injuring a man in the Imperial Palace. Kira Yoshinaka, who incited the attack with a series of verbal abuses, was left unpunished. The ronin samurai, moved to obey the bushido samurai code of honor, plot to assassinate Yoshinaka for over two years.The ronin, led by Oishi Kuranosuke, realize they will be monitored in case they enact an attempt at revenge. Thus, in an effort to dissuade the suspecting parties and Imperial spies, they send Kuranosuke to Kyoto. Kuranosuke spends many nights in Ichiriki Chaya, earning a reputation as a gambler and a drunkard. As he gives the appearance of becoming more and more relaxed and unprepared, Kira becomes less active in his suspicions and relaxes his security. Because the Ichiriki provided the cover to mount an attack, the ronin eventually killed Yoshinaka and were forced to commit seppuku themselves. This story has been retold numerous times, a genre known as Chūshingura, which has served to increase the fame of Ichiriki Chaya.
This sweet, tender moment, is far more romantic than Kai and Mika’s confession scene. The way her eyes couldn’t meet his until he touches her chin, is beautiful. The sadness and sorrow in their eyes, the heartfelt embrace, the tears, and how he hides his face in her hair – all is very heart wrenching yet heartwarming at the same time. Hiro’s acting is so captivating.