All About Japan

The BBC Investigates Bento

Video Bento Sanrio

How far would you go for your child’s bento? This intriguing BBC report offers the scoop on all things kyaraben (from “character bento”) with visits to a Tokyo kindergarten classroom and the home of Tomomi Maruo, a celebrated bento artist and downright guru of lunchbox ingenuity.

From movie characters (check out Indiana Jones!) to the inevitable Hello Kitty, Maruo’s bento creations are no joke. Nevertheless, we’ve got to ask: with some Japanese mothers admitting to spending hours each morning on their children’s lunches, how far is too far in the name of kawaii?