Stop-Motion Animator Mari Miyazawa Visits Birmingham and London in May

Bento artist and stop-motion animator Mari Miyazawa will be in the UK in May where she will take part in two events.

The first is a Japan Foundation in London talk on May 3rd with the name The Culinary Microcosm of the Japanese Lunch Box, a free to attend event where places must be booked. The second event is the Flatpack Festival in Birmingham on May 4th where she will present two workshops all about the art of character-bento, Japanese lunch boxes that have been turned into characters. The event is known as Beautiful Bento.

Miyazawa is a talented artist who started out making character-bento (キャラ弁). She then wanted to see her characters move and so joined the Tokyo National University of Arts Graduate School where she studied under Yuichi Ito. Here is her graduate film trailer:

In terms of her bento skills, you can find out more via her website. Her films have been screened at the London International Animation Festival in the past so this is a good chance to see her work in person.

Here are the details of what she will do in the UK:

The Culinary Microcosm of the Japanese Lunch Box

Date: 3rd May 2019, from 6:30pm

Venue: The Royal Society

Dining Room, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AG London

Nearest tube stations: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus

The traditional Japanese lunch box, or bento, has undergone a number of metamorphoses over the long course of its history, becoming a staple and a unique point of pride in Japanese cuisine. Depending on the occasion, bento can range from a mass-produced lunch container available from railway stations, to lovingly hand-crafted compartmentalised meals set in equally stylish lacquerware. However, the most notable transformation may be perceived in the category of home-made lunch, the ingredients of which not only form an appetising meal but also, with increasing intricacy, a visually engaging one. This is known as kyara-ben (character bento) and it is particularly enjoyed by children, who will often receive bento bearing the likeness of famous manga and anime characters.

In collaboration with the Flatpack Festival, we are happy to welcome Mari Miyazawa — a leading bento arranger and animation filmmaker whose work includes short films such as Twins in Bakery (2013) — to talk about the development of vibrant bento creations in Japan. Herself having invented a similarly illustrative genre of oekaki-ben (picture bento) in which food is arranged to resemble an intricately decorated scene or landscape, Miyazawa will also provide an introduction to turning ingredients into edible characters, revealing how her ideas attain the balance between nutrition and visual appeal.

This event is aimed at showing our audience that creating an edible work of art is something enjoyable everyone can do and be proud of!

You can book via Eventbrite


Character Bento

Date: 3rd May 2019, from 12:30 – 13:50 & 16:30 – 17:50

Venue: Kanteen

The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA

We’re delighted to welcome bento artist Mari Miyazawa to Flatpack to run two workshops demonstrating how to create Character Bento – the art of turning traditional Japanese lunch boxes into fun, edible characters.

Originally a creative ploy by parents desperate to get their kids interested in food, the art of animated bento has become something of an obsession in Japan – and we can see why. We’d have traded in our Frubes and Dairylea Dunkers for rice pandas and katsu rabbits any day of the week.

Please note that the 12:30 workshop is intended for younger participants (recommended age 7+, and children must be accompanied by an adult), and the 16:30 workshop is intended for adults.

Presented in partnership with the Japan Foundation.



I'm a long-time anime and Japanese film and culture fan who has lived in the country and is studying Japanese in an effort to become fluent. I write about films, anime, and work on various things.

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