Art,craft & Homewares

"Bento (lunch box) around the World - Make, Pack, and Carry"

2017.04.12

Japan's bento (lunch box) culture is spreading around the world. Come and choose beautiful bento tools at Ginza Mitsukoshi.


7F Global Message


Bento (lunch box) in Japan is an indispensable part of Japanese people's lives. Kindergarteners eat bento their parents had made which are an expression of their love. Fathers eat aisai bento (bento made by a loving wife) and eat it during their busy work schedule. Rice balls are a staple food to bring for family outings. There are also other seasonal bento such as bento for cherry blossom viewing and for the children's sports festival.

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It is said that bento was born in Japan about 2000 years ago. At that time, rice balls were the main kind of bento people ate. The food and containers for bento started to evolve in the Edo Period (1603-1867), allowing for more variety and elaborateness. Bento started to be one of the highlights for events, such as cherry blossom viewing, boat rides, and worship at shrines or temples. Today, bento that beautifully arranges side dishes and rice in a cute bento box is becoming a culture that represents Japan. "Kyaraben (character bento)," bento with food arranged to look like cute characters is also gaining worldwide attention. The Japanese culture of bento is now often introduced abroad as "bento" and is spreading throughout the world.

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Bento is made with careful attention to the taste, appearance, and bento box. People create it with love as they enjoy the process of putting it together. For example, bento can express the wishes of mothers who want their child to grow in health and the loving care of wives who think about their hard-working husbands.

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People who receive the bento prepared for them also daily look forward to what is prepared inside. It is common for people to compare it with their friends and ask each other, "Can I swap this side dish with yours?" Bento - lunch box can be seen throughout the world in a variety of forms. For example, sandwiches are popular in the U.K. You can see rows of sandwiches with a wide range of variety at stores. Some sandwiches can even sell out before noon at famous stores. Homemade sandwiches are also loved as a comfort food. Each family has their favorite recipe and combination of cheeses and vegetables. Meanwhile, in India, freshly made bento delivery is currently trendy and businesses that carry a huge amount of bento in the midst of a packed train is popular. China also has the custom to bring bento to schools or workplaces, just like Japan. However, people always eat it after warming it up. This may be because of the culture that prefers eating warm food. As you can see, there are various bento cultures around the world. There are also different kinds of products that seem to be proportional to the different ways of creating bento, from convenient tools to items with an adorable design. Ginza Mitsukoshi will be holding an event where bento products from all over the world will gather. It is guaranteed that even just looking at the products will give you a pleasant experience.

"Global BENTO"
Period: 4/12 (Wed) - 25 (Tue)
Venue: 7F Global Message
There will be a rich line-up of bento products, including luxury bento boxes that are the traditional crafts of Japan and convenient tools for bento. Let me introduce four must-see brands from among them.

■ WAJIMA KIRIMOTO
WAJIMA KIRIMOTO is a prestigious company of Wajima lacquerware. It has been manufacturing and selling Wajima lacquerware from the late Edo Period to the Meiji Period (1868-1912). In the beginning of the Showa Period (1926-1988), it founded "Houkijiya," a business specializing in carving the core wooden fittings. It created facilities that allowed the company to not only produce special lacquerware but also a wide variety of furniture.
The 7th generation owner, Taiichi majored in product design in university and worked in office planning for another company before returning to Wajima. He now contributes by supervising lacquerwares as well as making proposals of the shapes and designs from the perspective of the wood industry. He continues to challenge the possibilities of creating lacquerwares that will suit modern life.


Hisago shape bento box (Fuki-urushi black, fuki-urushi bengara)
A bento box with a playful shape that is created by applying natural lacquer called fuki-urushi, the most basic of all the lacquer application techniques. The fuki-urushi application gives this box a soft touch and makes it elegant yet perfect for casual use. The simple shape is ideal to be used daily.

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-Asunaro BENTO-BAKO deep shape
This bento box expresses the natural beauty of the wood. It is a product that exhibits the skilful technique of the lacquer artisan.

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■Odate Kogeisha
Odate Kogeisha was founded in 1959. Odate magewappa (bentwood work) is a traditional craft of Akita Prefecture that is also choreographed in the folk song of Akita Prefecture, "Akita Ondo." It is known for using natural Akita cedar that is 150 - 200 years old.
- Nitsujumaru Bento
This bento box is made of a special tree called Akita cedar. The beauty of the Akita cedar and the warmth of the traditional Japanese craft is reflected in this two-tiered and round magewappa bento box.

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■MATSUYA SHIKKITEN
MATSUYA SHIKKITEN was founded in 1905 and has been manufacturing lacquerware in Sabae City, Fukui Prefecture.
-Shirokinuri walnut 6 sun (about 181.8cm) nidan jubako black inside
This two-tiered jubako (a stacked box with a lid) is made using a walnut tree. It is ideal to be used for special occasions such as osechi cuisine for New Year, sports festivals, or cherry blossom viewing. The natural texture and beautiful grain are eye-catching.

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■ZEBRA
ZEBRA is a stainless steel manufacturer in Thailand with a prestigious history. It creates stainless steel products such as spoons that are indispensable for mealtime in Thailand.
-Stainless lunch box round shape 
Stainless steel is a material that prevents the smell the food transferring to the product. It keeps the product clean and hygienic. The color that is unique to stainless steel adds glamor to the dining table.

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"Bento (lunch box) around the World - Create, Pack, and Carry" will be held during April 12 (Wed) - 25 (Tue) at Global Message on the 7th Floor of Ginza Mitsukoshi. It is a festival of bento where fun and convenient bento items from all over the world gather at one place. You might find products that will give you new ideas for enjoying bento in a new way to make your life with bento more fun and convenient.

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