In the 22nd year of the Meiji era (aka 1889), the very first Japanese kyūshoku (school lunch) was served up at an elementary school in Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture. Although the first menu was very simply prepared, it provided the growing children with an important source of nourishment that not all of them could receive at home.
Fast-forward to 2015–Japanese schoolchildren (and their teachers!) continue to eat school lunches every day, as opposed to children in many other countries who bring their lunches from home. If you’re working in a Japanese school, you should already be familiar with the daily feeling of either excitement or disappointment when you see the lunch menu for the day. But just consider this–would you rather eat the types of lunches served today, or those that were served 100 years ago? Read on to learn about the evolution of Japanese school lunches and decide for yourself!