How Did Chopsticks Get to Japan?

The Japanese chopsticks came a long way from their ancient origins in China to our Issaquah sushi restaurant. It is believed that the original chopsticks were used five thousand years ago in ancient China. When fuel was scarce, the Chinese would cut up their meat into small pieces so that it would cook more efficiently. Cooks and diners found that they were able to use of a simple pair of sticks to handle their meals, and the utensils slowly caught on.

When Confucius came along, he promoted the use of chopsticks his followers. He spread the philosophy that the knife and the fork were crude and vulgar instruments associated with violence and the slaughterhouse, and that a civilized diner should seek to separate himself from this as much as possible. The utensils therefore spread across the continent along with Confucian teachings to the countries of Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.

Chopsticks first arrived in Japan at some point around 500 ad. The earliest Japanese sticks were actually shaped like a set of tongs and used only for religious ceremonies. When the nobility first took to eating with chopsticks, it became popular to have sticks made from jade or precious metals. Silver chopsticks were a big item, as it was believed that the metal would always stain when touched by poison. The sticks gradually made their way onto the common dinner table and took on the form we recognize today.