Japanese Culture - Chopsticks are used from Nara Asuka period
It was during the Asuka and Nara period that chopsticks began to be used for eating. Prince Shotoku is said to have adopted the chopsticks system in the Imperial Court for the first time. The Asuka and Nara periods were a period of active exchange with China. In 607, envoys to the Sui dynasty, Ono no Imoko, brought back a set of chopsticks and spoons along with a set of dining etiquette.
The dining etiquette introduced by Prince Shotoku to the imperial court gradually spread among the common people, and the culture of using chopsticks for meals spread. There is evidence that chopsticks made of cedar and cypress were used in the Nara period, and in the Kamakura period, the chopsticks began to be coated with lacquer along with the utensils. In the middle of the Edo period, eating out became popular, and disposable chopsticks were made from surplus wood.
Among the countries with a chopstick culture that accounts for 30% of the world's population, Japan can be said to have a unique history. This is because Japan is the only country where the etiquette of eating with only chopsticks has been established.
When eating Japanese food, you put your mouth directly into the bowl to drink the soup and use chopsticks to eat the ingredients. This style of eating directly from the bowl is unique to Japan and is rarely seen in other countries, even though there is a culture of using chopsticks. Another uniquely Japanese characteristic is the use of chopsticks for one's own use. Japan is a culture that has its own specificity in chopsticks and bowls.
Chopsticks are nothing more than two sticks, but they are difficult to master because they are manipulated with one hand and used in a variety of ways, such as pinching, peeling, wrapping, holding, tearing, scooping, placing, and carrying. That's why we learn how to hold chopsticks functionally, and by using chopsticks, we learn how to use our fingers delicately and how to apply force from an early age.
- How to choose chopsticks
Chopsticks and bowls are available in men's and women's sizes. This is a fixed size created in the Edo period, based on the average height and hand size of men and women at that time. However, it is no longer possible to say that men and women have the same body size, so it is important to choose chopsticks that match the size of your hands. You can learn how to use chopsticks correctly only with the correct size chopsticks.
It is said that the size of chopsticks that fits the hand is "1.5 times the length of the thumb and forefinger extended at right angles. Chopsticks that fit the size of the user's hands are the most comfortable to hold and look beautifully balanced.
How about finding your favorite chopsticks and enjoying Japanese food?