Since May of 2018, tonkatsu shop Marukatsu (@marukatsunara) located in Nara, Japan, has been offering a very generous service for those in desperate need of a hot meal--particularly children.

The store manager has posted signs outside the shop to notify those who may need the service, which read:

"If as a last resort, you are hungry but have no money at home, or need to feed your children until they are full with delicious food but cannot due to personal circumstances, please quietly consult with the store manager.

The store manager will discretely treat you with a filling meal. If you find it awkward to eat in the store in that situation, we can also prepare a take home bento!

All we have in this world is each other. You can always pay back later or just forget about it. We're happy if this can be something that helps you feel even a little bit better. Feeling as if we were able to be just a bit of help makes us happy enough, so please don't worry.

To Marukatsu customers, thank you very much for your continued patronage. It's because you all support us that we can do something stupid like this. We're sorry to cause you any concern, so please understand. We apologize for any discomfort we've caused you, sorry!

Children who can't eat at home, you can eat here."

The hospitality of the store can obviously be appreciated by hungry children, concerned parents, or those struggling with their work situation or finding employment. However, the store has received messages of concern (as expressed in the above poster) and even criticism, with some saying "isn't tonkatsu too luxurious?" for such a service. While some were worried about giving away something with as high a unit price as a free meal seemingly regularly, apparently the store also received complaints saying there's no need to be charitable with food so rich.

This prompted the store to take to Twitter, responding with:

"Thanks to all of your patronage, we have been able to continue our free cafeteria service, however, we've received feedback saying "isn't tonkatsu too luxurious?" many times. We're a tonkatsu shop. If tonkatsu is luxury for you, that's why we'd like to serve it and make you happy every once in a while with tonkatsu and fried shrimp."

In February 2020, 370 customers have visited Marukatsu, with one saying "this is the first time in two years I've been able to feed my kids something from a restaurant." As for the store's response to concern and criticism, many on Twitter are applauding their philosophy, which store manager Tomonori Kaneko sums up here:

As a chef, having people eat your food is a priceless happiness.

With your stomach filled, you might feel better and become more positive. Maybe this can help people start to trust and rely on each other. I'm just happy if this can be a first step. I believe the staff feels the same way, and we'd like everyone to understand.

While the generous tonkatsu shop rightfully says there's no luxury in helping those in need eat, their tonkatsu sure does look nice!

By - Big Neko.