Bento Boxes: Japanese Cultural Connection

Bento box. (Source:

When one thinks about packed lunches, a brown paper bag usually comes to mind, but this is not the case for Bento boxes. Bento boxes are a form of art in Japanese culture, and the only materials needed to create this art are selected foods and a box with compartments shaped in caricatures or figures.

Bento boxes go all the way back to the Kamakura Period (1185-1333) when they were used for cooked dried rice. In the 1980’s when the microwave started gaining popularity, Bento boxes regained their popularity and are commonly seen at convenient stores today.

Bento boxes come with compartments that can be filled up in certain ways that make food look colorful, fun and entertaining. The art one creates is simply the reflection of the sugary foods, or simply like the dry food, Bento boxes are a fun way to pack lunches.

Many bento accessories are made for this purpose, they make it possible to take a hard boiled egg and turn it into a fish or flower, one can also use a cookie cutter to create characters or unique shaped forms according to one’s likings.

The art of bento is a fun and healthy way to eat, try competing with your friends or family to see who creates the best bento!

About Ana Palma-Gutierrez 29 Articles
My name is Ana Palma-Gutierrez, and I am from Mexico City. I first moved to the U.S. when I was seven years old, and the transition into my new life was a very challenging experience for me. I had to learn English in order for me to survive in my new home, and in addition, I had to leave all my friends and family behind in order for me to find a better life. Almost thirteen years have passed by since I first moved to the U.S. and I am very proud of being a Staff Writer and Copy Editor for The Jibsheet. Currently, I am the only Mexican/Hispanic Staff Writer and Copy Editor on staff, and I am very proud of myself for this accomplishment. I want to thank my Editor in Chief (Riley Hartwell,) as well as the rest of my editors for giving me the opportunity of writing and editing for The Jibsheet. I look forward to completing my Arts and Science Degree here at Bellevue College, and transferring onto a four-year college, where I hope to Major in Political Science and Minor in Journalism.