Now in the world, it is said that approximately 30% of the people use chopsticks,
also 30% of the people use knives and forks,
and the other 40% of the people eat by hands.
Of course depending on the country or the person the custom is different,
but generaly in East Asia, people use chopsticks because they eat sticky rice

It is a well-known story that Louis XIV in France ate by using his hands.
At that time some nobles gradually started to use forks and spoons,
but it appears that before the 18th century generally
a roasted chunk of meat was carved for dinners and they had to eat with their hands

Anyway when human beings started to use fire to cook foods,
they needed tools to stick or pinch or scoop
to get foods from the fire or to eat hot foods.

Chopsticks have an extremely long history compared with other utensils.
As we have various views about the real origin or history of chopsticks,
it is difficult to know about them.
In China bronze chopsticks were discovered from
excavations of old capital during BC14-BC11.
They are the oldest existing chopstics so far and they were probably
not tools to eat but used for formal ceremony.

In Japan, there are several opinions about the origin of chopsticks.
Some say that chopsticks were introduced from China in the middle of the 6th century
and others say that they were introduced early in the 7th century.
Anyway in the early Nara period (710-784) people started to use chopstics
in daily life and changed the way of eating.

Now Japanese usually use shorter chopsticks than the ones used by the Chinese.
Chopsticks are commonly made of light but strong materials
like wood, bamboo or plastic in Japan
They have many functions.
Japanese use them sometimes like forks or knives

In many resturants, disposable chopsticks or waribashi are provided.
However these have to be splits apart before they are used.
They are made of bamboo, Japanese willow or thinned-out timber
and are not encased in lacquered or decorated.
Do not smooth disposable chopsticks by rubbing them against each other.

If you find that both sides of the chopsticks are tapered,
and put in a beautiful paper bag,
this is called"Iwai-bashi "
These are usualy used during happy occasions.

Long chopstics are called Saibashi, and are used for cooking.


Know your proper length of Japanese chopticks
Your heght Proper length
155cm 21.5cm
160cm 22.0cm
165cm 22.5cm
170cm 23.0cm
175cm 23.5cm
180cm 24.0cm

There is rough correlation between height and hand-size.





hold the upper stick in one hand
as a pencil is held


the lower stick is supported
by the ball of the thumb and the ring finge

***** TABOOS *****

Don't hold your chopstics over different dishes
before you decide what to take next

Don't stab your chopsticks into the rice in the bowl
(It reminds us of the way we serve rice to a deceased person)

(put your mouse on this picture)
Don't draw a dish up toward you by using chopsticks
( This is considered risky)

Don't point at anything with chopsticks while eating

Don't stab food with chopsticks

Don't pick something away from the chopstics using your mouth
when you want to remove something
on the chopstics

Don't lick the end of chopsticks.

Don't give and receive food from chopsticks to chopsticks
(to pick one thing with two pair of chopsticks is
how ash is picked up in a cerematory)

Don't stir and check the ingredient of soup in a bowl

(Put your mouse on this picture)

Don't call a waiter or waitress by knocking on the table with chopsticks

Don't eat only dishes.
Eat staple food, too

Don't force food into the back of your mouth with chopsticks

Don't stir soup or anything else with chopstics

Namida bashi
Don't let soup or sauce drip down from the tip
of your chopstics

Don't take a dish by hand while holding chopstics

Don't pick out your favorite piece from a pile of food

Don't ask for another dish while holding chopstics

Don't use your chopsticks to shovel food into your mouth from a bowl.

Don't hand someone a dish while mouthing chopstics

Don't put your chopstics on the bowl like a bridge
before you are finished eating..
This means " I don't want any more "


don't worry !
Please enjoy Japanese food with chopsticks.