Friday, October 14, 2011

Bento Miffy Sandwich Nijntje Boterham

Today's bento features Nijntje, also known as Miffy internationally, which is one of my favourite characters when I was growing up. When I was young, I remember my mom reading the books to me. Sometimes we would go to the library and I would pick out the books by the basket, literally begging her to bring all of them home. hahaha!
Many people might not know, but this little rabbit has Dutch origins and goes by her Dutch name Nijntje. Her creator Dick Bruna created this character in 1955 after telling his grandson stories about a little rabbit they had seen in the woods in Utrecht. Nijntje (pronounced roughly as "NAI-n-je" in the English way) was the typical child's pronunciation for Konijntje which means little rabbit in Dutch.

Although Nijntje is drawn with barely a few lines, it is instantly recognisable as a rabbit. Soon the character Nijntje becomes an instant hit internationally. Dick design his Nijntje books with minimal dialogues (some even without dialogues) because he thinks that the illustrations should speak for themselves and also because the books were also meant for children as learner books. Nijntje's books soon got translated into many languages and exported into many countries in the world, including Japan. But there was a big problem because not many people can pronounce Nijntje's dutch name. Soon, Nijntje got another name that is easier to pronounce, MIFFY. This is why all translations of Nijntje referred to her as Miffy, or at least with a phonetic translation that sounds like Miffy.

Bento Miffy Sandwich Nijntje Boterham

Many think that Miffy is Japanese, because Sanrio's Hello Kitty and friends are drawn using a similar line style. In addition, the Miffy brand is popular in Japan and there is a lot of Japanese-made Miffy merchandise. To complicate things a little more, Hello Kitty found a friend called Cathy in 1976. Just like Miffy, Cathy is also a rabbit who doesn't talk much and is drawned in a similar fashion. Of course Dick Bruna wasn't very happy about it and there was a long love/hate relationship between the company that owns Miffy, namely Mercis BV and Sanrio. On November 2, 2010, a Dutch court ruled against Sanrio and ordered the company to stop marketing Cathy products in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Sanrio raised an appeal soon after.

Following the 2011 March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Sanrio and Mercis BV settled the lawsuit out of court under the condition that Sanrio must stop worldwide production of merchandise that feature Cathy. Instead of continuing the court battle like most big companies are likely to do, the two companies will donate the legal fees to help the earthquake victims, which I thought was rather sweet of both of them.

Ok, I think this post is getting rather long. Sorry I got carried away, hahaha, because I really love Nijntje / Miffy a lot and she reminds me a lot of my childhood. I hope you like this Miffy Sandwich Bento or should I say Nijntje Boterham Bento as much as I do :)


  1. Thank you for the background. I remember Miffy books when I was a child all the way over here in Australia. Surprisingly enough my grandmother migrated from Den Haag when she was 14! However, I don't know if she had influence in my Miffy love. I met Hello Kitty when I was much older, and only in merchandise rather than books or tv shows.
    I was surprised when I had my own children that there is a Miffy cartoon show on tv! My daughter enjoys Miffy, but I think she would enjoy the books more.

    Now, my question about Bento ^__^ How did you make Miffy? Was it a cutter? Is it cheese? I'd love to give it a try!

    Thanks for sharing!
    xx Neko Mama

  2. What a coincidence Neko Mama! Your grandmother is from Den Haag! I think Den Haag is a pretty charming city. Have you visited your grandmother's hometown yet?

    Ah, the Miffy bento! The body is made from cheese (I used goat cheese for this one) and the dress is made from a piece of carrot. I have just written a step by step tutorial post with a downloadable template I drew. Hope you like it :)


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About Bento Cat

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Amsterdam, Netherlands
I'm Shanna and I enjoy bento making a lot. I'm also a wife, daughter,sister,a full-time student, previous fashion and product designer, nerd and super foodie all rolled into one. With Adventures of Bento Cat, I hope to document the daily happenings of my life through Bentos filled with Tender Loving Care and more! I can be contacted at
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