- Chopsticks Collection -

If you want to eat Japanese food the traditional way, then nothing beats a pair of chopsticks. Japan Box has many types of chopsticks available online, from small chopsticks that fit in your bento to extra long cooking chopsticks and many more!

History of Japanese Chopsticks

Chopsticks are one of the simplest, oldest and most widely used utensils for eating and are still the primary eating utensil for over 22 per cent of the world's population. Historical evidence of two chopsticks being stuck together for use in cooking or eating has been found in East Asia and the Middle East.

Earliest forms of chopsticks in history date back 5,000 years and were probably used for cooking to grab food from a pot of hot water. Chopsticks have been a table utensil for about 3,000 to 3,500 years, from around the time of the Shang Dynasty (1,600 BC - 1,050 BC) and became the primary eating utensil around 400 AD.

The use of chopsticks spread throughout Asia, and by 500 AD they were common in what is now Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mongolia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. With Western expansion, the use of chopsticks declined in Laos and Thailand, where the hand, fork and spoon are more popular, although disposable chopsticks are commonly available in Chinese restaurants.

The first chopsticks came to Japan via Korea, around the Wakasa Bay area on the Sea of Japan. This was a waypoint for travelers passing between China and Kyoto and is considered the eastern end of the Silk Road and the gateway to Japan. Chopsticks were revered as precious in Japan and used in religious ceremonies.

Chopstick Materials

Wood and bamboo were the natural early forms of chopsticks and are still the most common materials today. Over time, bone, ivory, bronze, brass, silver, gold, jade, agate, coral and other exotic materials were used, especially for wealthy chopstick owners.

Ancient chopstick sets in China were often found together with a knife and a pouch, and the chopsticks were often tied together at the handle end with a chain.

Silver chopsticks were popular with kings as a safety measure. Silver was believed to detect poison in food by turning black. Unfortunately for those who found out the hard way, silver has no reaction to cyanide or arsenic, but does discolour in the presence of rotten eggs, onions and garlic.