Kids’ Cafeteria: How These Humble Establishments Are Helping Japanese Children

  • Living in a developed country doesn’t necessarily mean some people do not struggle to meet their daily needs. There are also some Japanese folks who have trouble in making ends meet. Some of these have very young children, contributing to the fact that child hunger is a worldwide phenomenon. However, Japan has a way of addressing this issue.

    The Truth

    If you visit Japan, it is uncommon to see children begging on the street for food. However, there’s an approximate 16% of families who are financially unable to provide enough food for their kids. This is the case of two-parent families. The number is higher for single-parent families. Even with this truth, some people don’t really care. But there are some who refuse to stand by doing nothing and are kind enough to dedicate themselves to helping these children.

    Kids cafeterias known as “kodomo shokudo” in Japanese, are being established by some citizens hoping to fill the empty stomachs of hungry and undernourished Japanese children. This initiative was started in 2012 by a shop in Tokyo’s Ota Ward. Since then, it started spreading nationwide.

    Kurume Kodomo Shokudo

    Daisuke Kawano is a 38-year-old Japanese man who heard about the movement. It brought him back to his younger years when he experienced being hungry when the electricity and gas were turned off in his family’s house. He didn’t want children to experience the same situation of having hardly enough food on the table. He believed that there are a great number of children who are hungry and the situation cannot be ignored. He then opened “Kurume Kodomo Shokudo” in Fukuoka Prefecture. It is a place providing curry and rice for children. It is an all-you-can-eat meal for a price of 300 yen per child. There’s also a 100-yen discount if a child colors a picture which is really very cheap for a complete meal in Japan.

    The operation is run from his own pocket and donations from supporters. There is a need for more selfless people like Mr. Kawano. This is a great step up in addressing the issues of child hunger in Japan!

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