Kyaraben (13 pics)
Kyaraben or charaben, a shortened form of character bento, is a style of elaborately arranged bento which features food decorated to look like people, characters from popular media, animals, and plants. Japanese homemakers often spend considerable time devising their children's meals including their boxed lunches.
Originally, a decorated bento was intended to arouse interest from children in their food and to encourage a wider range of eating habits. It has now evolved to the point where national contests are held, from which kyaraben artists can gain fame and become invited seminar speakers and authors on the subject.