Emoji dictionary

?? Bento Box emoji

[ben-toh boks ih-moh-jee]

What does ?? Bento Box emoji?mean?

The bento box emoji, ??, represents a traditional Japanese boxed lunch, called a bento box, or a meal at a Japanese restaurant in the same style.

It's used for such lunches and meals, as well as for Japanese and Asian cuisine more generally, and Western small-plate dishes and snacks.?

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Related words

?? Pot Food emoji, ?? Green Salad emoji, ?? Sake Bottle and Cup emoji, kawaii, Monchhichi

Where does ?? Bento Box emoji come from?


In Japanese, bento (弁當, among other forms)?literally just means “lunch box” or “packed lunch,” traced back to a medieval Chinese term for “convenient.” How handy.?


Bento refers to both the lunch container and the lunch itself, but the container is more commonly referred to as a bento box. Originally made of bamboo, contemporary bento boxes are made of wood, plastic, metal, and other materials. A traditional Japanese lunch consists of rice, plus small dishes of veggies and fish or meat, and bento boxes are often sectioned off in serving them—as the bento box emoji so depicts, like in this screenshot from Emojipedia below.


Bentos started out as homemade lunches to take to work or school. Over time, they also began appearing in train stations and convenience stores as grab-and-go food options for commuters and traveling workers.?Some Japanese restaurants, especially sushi restaurants in the West, also offer set?bento box meals in lacquered, sectioned trays.

The bento box?emoji was approved in 2010 under Unicode 6.0 and joins a number of other Japan-specific emoji known to confuse Westerners who forget that emoji originate in Japan (such as the?Japanese dolls???, sake bottle and cup???, and goblin ??).?As you may have noticed, most versions of the bento box emoji across platforms look more like a restaurant set meal tray than a lunch box. This is likely a consequence of Western designers (and emoji users) being more familiar with the restaurant type of bento box.?

Examples of ?? Bento Box emoji

I want to make more bentos ???
@BananaJamana, July, 2018
I would eat sushi every day if i could ????
@kristinavbucko, July, 2018
I'm going to Asia Asia Food Hall in Chinatown tonight, and it's all I can think about. ???????????? #Birmingham
@AmandaGChan, August, 2018

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Who uses ?? Bento Box emoji?

By far the most popular use of the bento box emoji is to caption or reference pictures of actual bento boxes. Thanks to some serious social pressure on Japanese parents to send their children to school with lunches that were both nutritionally balanced and aesthetically nice, bento boxes have a worldwide reputation as some of the cutest, most photogenic lunches around.

Search interest in the term bento box spikes each year around August or September, which in many Western countries is at the start of the new school year (school starts in March or April in Japan). Part of this could be parents, including many of Japanese heritage, looking at recipes and ideas for lunches to pack for school and work.

If you ever need some lunch inspo (and don’t mind a little lunch envy) give #?? or #弁當 a look.

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おはようございます。 旦那サンの分は寫メ間に合わず。 まぁ內容一緒ですが?? 暑くて買い物すら行くのが面倒くさく野菜室は大葉、ピーマンのみになりました。 ? ※炒飯 ※焼売 ※ひじき ※赤ウインナー ※竹輪の大葉巻き ※辛子メンマ ※胡瓜のピクルス ? 今日は流石に買い物行きますが、息子に必要な2Lのアクエリアスが品薄でなかなか売っていない見かけない( ;?;) 運が良ければ巡り會えるか?? ? #今日のお弁當#お弁當#お弁當記録#お弁當作り楽しもう部#お晝が楽しみになるお弁當#旦那弁當#息子弁當#自分弁當#置き弁#おべんたー#lunchbox#lunch#お晝ごはん#料理#家庭料理#料理寫真#つくりおき#豊かな食卓#クッキングラム#オベンタグラム#おうちごはんlove#炒飯#日々の暮らし#殘り物#セリア #lin_stagrammer#delistagrammer#bento#japanesefood#??

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2018/08/02 おはようございます?? 今日は #中華そぼろ弁當 . . ミンチ肉が続いてる…?? 今日の夜は塊肉食べような!! ?????????? . 昨日早く仕事が終われたので 本屋さんに行って #栗原はるみ の本を買ったら やる気が出てしまい???? (買っただけでまだ読んでない) かぼちゃさらだ?? 豚バラチャーシュー?? 自家製アイス2種類?? などなど作りまくった!!!?? . . 今日も早く帰ってアイス食べよ~???? . #お弁當 #弁當 #わっぱ #わっぱ弁當 #今日のお弁當 #ランチ #lunch #お弁當作り楽しもう部 #マカロニメイト #クッキングラム #cooking #おうちごはん #じゅりキッチン #ペケ弁 #のっけ弁 #地味弁 #colorful #エルグルメ #おしゃ弁 #?? #bento #おひるごはん #共働き #飯炊きババア

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You’ll also see the bento box emoji alongside photos of non-bento or nontraditional bento box lunches.

The bento box also gets used with pictures and mentions of sushi and other Japanese (or, less discriminately, other Asian) foods, regardless of whether it’s a bento-style set meal. Same goes for things like snack sets, small plates, or an array of dishes that may evoke the bento box or its emoji form.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of ?? Bento Box emoji like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of ?? Bento Box emoji that will help our users expand their word mastery.