A Brief History of Chopsticks + Documentary
A Short History of Chopsticks in Asia
hashi — No, not the Bridge the Chopsticks
Many many moons ago around 1200 BC the Chinese were using what today we would call chopsticks. Around 500 AD these tools of the feed my face trade flew into areas like Vietnam and Japan.
(You can watch this video here)
The first chopsticks that have been noted and found were in the ruins of Yin, in the Henan province in China. There were examples of Chinese ascribed scrolls, paintings and pottery that shown the first known chopsticks being used, which were a bronze chopstick set found in tombs.
These chopsticks were available and used for stirring and moving food that was cooking. So at this time chopsticks were more so a cooking utensil. Chopsticks came about because a population increase all across China which sucked up all the resources in city areas and it forced cooks in these aread to start creating ways to develop cost-saving techniques.
Food was being chopped into more fine pieces which required much less cooking (fuel and resources) then before. But whats more perfect then some chopsticks to be able to grab these tiny pieces of food then a chopstick? So as this continued things like knives became obsolete. The chopstick era truly began because of Confucius. Being that Confucius was a vegetarian he saw knives and stabbing utensils as something that would be used in a slaughterhouse.
Confucius also had a mighty strong belief in Feng Shui and he thought that knives evoked warfare, killing and violence which over all destroyed the pleasant feeling and vibe of eating during meals. Afterward this idea sprung into action across Asia. Of course many Asian countries use chopsticks a bit different then some. For example, Chinese chopsticks have more of a blunt end to them, in Japan chopsticks had certain sizes for both genders (7 inches for woman and 8 inches for men).
Around 1878 the Japanese were the first country to make disposable sets of chopsticks made from bamboo and wood. Of course more economically sound families would eat their meals with chopsticks made out of brass, coral, jade, ivory and agate. Most well off families would and still use silver based chopsticks, which are said to turn black when they touch poisonous food.
There you have it, a brief history of the mighty chopstick!
Ha-shi or はし is chopstick in Japanese, which can also mean bridge!
So, はしおください。（ha－shi o kuda－sai）。 Chopsticks Give Me Please!
Be sure to check out Japanese Chopstick Etiquette Here.
About the Author
I've been interested in Japanese as a language and as a culture since I was about 15 years old. In April 2017 my wife and I moved to Fukuoka, Japan to go to school for 2 years. We've since returned to America and now are looking to expand Nihon Scope further for future visitors of Japan to get in touch with the best school they can. We're also here sharing our experiences of Japan and the culture. Get in touch with us on Facebook for the quickest response!