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BEYOND BENTO at Fukuoka Design Award - Rethinking traditional Japanese wood bento box.

Updated: Mar 15

Supporters and friends of Goenne Japan have witnessed how our bento box availability fluctuated in 2023. So after our past announcement "An Encore Comes to an End", what happened to our good partner, your favorite wooden bento box maker ShibataToku?

Limited selection of Shibatatoku wooden bento boxes are available, however, inventory will continue to become smaller. The team of 3 is now down to Ms. Shibata alone. In addition, there has been some drastic changes at the historic shop after Mr. Morita retirement in mid 2023. We will save the details on ShibataToku for our NEXT blog, and how we plan to evolve our work to continue promoting and supplying these beautiful craft objects in 2024.

So stay tuned on this.

For now...

Fukuoka Design Award, Goenne Japan, Taketombo Corp

We'd like to report on a special (and super fun) project we did with ShibataToku in late 2023 which is continuing to 2024! Last year, we have initiated a design project called Beyond Bento 1.0 (aka "magemonogatari 1.0" マゲモノガタリ1.0 in Japanese) and it has been selected as a finalist in the 25th Annual Fukuoka Design Award hosted by Fukuoka Industrial Design Council. In late 2023, we got to exhibit the concept, presented to the panel judges and showcased the idea to the public.

Our objective is to raise awareness to this disappearing crafts in Japan, with only 2 makers-families still producing Hakata Bentwood craft. To re-ignite interests and passion towards this timeless and eco-friendly utilitarian object that has been forgotten by most. Hakata Magemono bentwood objects should be the pride of Fukuokans, being the "oldest bentwood box of Japan".

BEYOND BENTO - Rethinking Japanese wooden bento box

We want to push the idea of this handmade wooden bento box beyond being a food container and beyond a ritual-ware used by Japanese Shrines. This well-crafted box is a carrier of stories and cultural legacies, where its meaning and value are PRESERVED and CONTINUE with one's ownership and usage.  Therefore, we have incorporate new functionality, flexibility and interactivity and created the Beyond Bento program. Usage and possibility for expansion has now become unlimited.

Read more about our concept in a newly designated page. We will also utilize Kickstarter to spread the news and crowd-fund for new expansion ideas. As a user, a craft advocates, or a supporter of Japanese traditional craft, please sponsor this project and help unleash its potential.


Fukuoka Design Award, product design exhibition, product design development, Taketombo, Goenne Japan, wood bento box
Our project coordinator Hozumi did an amazing presentation at Fukuoka Design Award.

Back to the exhibition day, we have met with many Fukuokans, including young design students from local universities. To our surprise, only a few of the visitors were aware of ShibataToku's work and Hakata bentwood craft as Fukuoka city's heritage craft. And those who knew, they all remarked Ms. Shibata being the most kind person, typical cheerful Hakata-style hospitality. Young designers and product design students were inspired to see and touch a handcrafted bento box taking on a different form. When they opened the box lids, most were surprised to see non-food objects being fitted into a container that is so iconic in Japan as a food storage box (our play on Japanese' fixated cultural expectations... LOL). And the pleasant aroma of Japanese cedar wood never fails to bring smiles on faces. Through this event, we have asked everyone to Rethink, beyond bento, and spark conversations and interests in the iconic Japanese wood bento box.

The Goal of Beyond Bento.

This is only the beginning, a work in progress.

For us, our most anticipated work is to push forward the integrated interactivity, where users can choose and learn a unique Japanese traditional craft through our online program. We also have many other ideas to develop more functional components to widen the usage and make it fun for the users. We want to move faster but in the slow-craft world, the Creator has to find the right pace in order to work with the Maker in the traditional craft world. We will nonetheless continue to push Beyond and share new ideas and development.

When you have a chance, visit our Kickstarter project site, help share this projects to more creatives and craft advocates and support us to make it happen!

Last but not least, sharing a few comments we received from the judges panel:

"I appreciate the flexibility and ingenuity in the way of selling, modeling, and target setting. I believe that the possibilities for collaboration with traditional crafts, such as sushi-making and other craft kits, will expand in the future, which will further raise awareness and boost the industry and Japanese culture."

"Not only is the perfection of the product superb, but the fact that it has created new value for bento, which had lost its competitiveness due to its weakness of not being thermal-proof as it was tied to traditional uses such as lunch boxes, tea utensils, and ritual utensils, is wonderful."

We had a lot of fun working on this project as well as sharing with the public in Japan. Please support the development of Beyond Bento, or even better, get your own BB1.0 and build your own story with it. We also hope to be able to bring this exhibition to the US in the near future (... how about 2024?) so you can also touch and feel it, and help us evolve the project!

FOLLOW the Pre-launch page and be notified on MARCH 15th

If you like what we do, SUPPORT THIS PROJECT on KICKSTARTER! LAUNCH DATE: MARCH 15th (Friday).

And Share Share Share!

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