The 3rd Sanrio Charaben (Kyaraben) Contest winners are announced

In Japan, there are numerous bento contests, especially targeted at practioners of the art of charaben or kyaraben, cute character bentos. The biggest one of them all is arguably the annual charaben contest held by Sanrio, now in its 3rd year. The one rule of the Sanrio contest, not surprisingly, is that the bento entries must feature Sanrio characters.

The winners of the contest were announced yesterday. Here’s the Golden Grand Prix winning bento :


Like the winning bento last year, it’s a picnic bento, titled “It’s spring! Picnic bento for everyone”, and the Golden Kyarabeniste is a Ms. Harumi Sugiyama from Saitama prefecture. The bento has the following mind-boggling components:

  • A homemade mini apple pie; according the the creator it’s “because when I think of Hello Kitty, I think of apple pie”
  • A hollowed out apple cup, made with the apple from which the pie was made, holding potato salad
  • Hello Kitty family shaped onigiri, and Hello Kitty jelly cups

The creator says that she tried to make the bento appeal to adults as well as kids, since it’s a family picnic bento. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like this amazing creation. Just thinking of the time it must have taken makes my head spin.

You can check out the rest of the winners by clicking on the shiny link buttons below each photo, or the photo itself, from the main page. My personal favorite is another picnic bento, the Okaasan Arigato (Thank you Mother) bento, which according to the description is an edible Mother’s Day card of sorts (keep in mind that the contest took place in April-May of this year, so many people had spring on their minds when they were making their bentos).


I wonder when the number of charaben/kyaraben fans in the U.S. for example will become big enough so that it becomes worthwhile for Sanrio to hold a bento contest? Or, better yet, an international bento contest? After all, isn’t Hello Kitty a universally known symbol? We shall see…

I’ve found some bento bloggers who entered the contest and have written about their experiences (in Japanese of course) here, here, here, here, here and here so far. I’ll add more links as I find them (I haven’t found the Golden Grand Prix winner’s blog yet, if she has one). If you spot anymore, let us know in the comments!

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Re: The 3rd Sanrio Charaben (Kyaraben) Contest winners are ...

Omg! This is so fabulous! Thanks for sharing! ^_^

Re: The 3rd Sanrio Charaben (Kyaraben) Contest winners are ...

My gosh! These are absolutely adorable! They're almost too cute to eat. I can only imagine the hours it took to make this and the years of experience to get it looking this good.

Re: The 3rd Sanrio Charaben (Kyaraben) Contest winners are ...

Thanks for all the links!

My very girlish 5 yo will start full day 1st grade this fall and I will be able to make bentos at long last (first daughter is a homeschooled tomboy so no bentos for her!).. will be gearing up with your blog's help!

I especially loved these details from the contest (I hope flickr links work here)

Bento detail (NOT MINE)

Look at these swirly things!

Bento detail (NOT MINE)

Loved the detail on these, what looks like hotdogs cut up and put on popsicle sticks (is that what they are? cheese in the middles?)

Bento detail (NOT MINE)

and what are these called and do you have an easy recipe for them?

Bento detail (NOT MINE)

Re: The 3rd Sanrio Charaben (Kyaraben) Contest winners are ...

Wow! I LOVE Hello Kitty! These must have taken a lot of time and effort to make! Well done everyone! Very impressive!

Re: The 3rd Sanrio Charaben (Kyaraben) Contest winners are ...

These cute bento are adorable. I imagine how long japanese mother spend in the kitchen for their children!

Re: The 3rd Sanrio Charaben (Kyaraben) Contest winners are ...

So Cute!! It must have taken soo long to do the onigiri. Kawaii (:

Charaben Contest in Shinjuku

Greetings of Spring to All Friends!!

We are helding The Third Shinjuku World Network event in August, 2010. During this occasion, we are planning to organize the Charaben/Kyaraben contest as well.
Many school children, parents, respected personalities from Shinjuku including the Mayor of Shinjuku,
are expected to join the event.

Interested parties please contact us. We are dynamic young members of the respected organization of the world.

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