The Japanese chopsticks came a long way from their humble origins in China to our Bothell Japanese 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. By his teachings, the knife and the fork were crude and violent instruments associated with the slaughterhouse, and a civilized diner should separate himself from this aesthetic as much as possible. The utensils therefore spread across the Asian continent along with Confucian teachings to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.
Chopsticks made their first appearance in Japan somewhere around 500 ad. At the time, they were shaped like tongs and used strictly for religious ceremonies. Gradually, the sticks made their way into the common dinner table and took on the form we recognize today. It was popular among the nobility 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.