The word kyaraben (キャラ弁) or charaben is a shorter version of “character bento” and it’s what a lot of people think of when they hear the word bento. The word describes what it is very well. Its a bento box where the food is arranged to look like characters, usually it’s very cute. It can be animals, popular characters, people and objects.
At the beginning, this was something mothers did for their children when they made their lunch boxes. They wanted to treat their children to fun and cute food and to encourage the children to eat better, such as vegetables.
Many Japanese mothers are really good at making these, maybe they became pro after creating so many times for their kids. Some schools do not allow students to bring kyaraben to avoid becoming competition among mothers:)
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