The chopsticks came a long way from their humble origins in China to our Seattle sushi restaurant. Historians believe that the very first chopsticks came about five thousand years ago in China. When fuel was in short supply, the Chinese people would divide up their meat into smaller chunks so that it would cook with less heat. They found that they were able to use of a simple pair of sticks to manipulate their meals, and the sticks slowly caught on as utensils.
When Confucius was circulating his philosophy, he encouraged the use of chopsticks with his followers. His message was that knives and forks were vulgar instruments associated with the slaughterhouse, and a civilized diner should separate himself from this violent aesthetic as much as possible. The utensils therefore spread across the continent along with Confucian teachings to the areas that are known today as Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.
Chopsticks made their debut in Japan around the sixth century. Early Japanese sticks were fashioned like tongs and used only for religious ceremonies. Over time, the sticks made their way back to the dinner table and took on the form we know today. It was popular among the nobility to have their chopstick made from either jade or precious metals. Silver chopsticks were a popular favorite, as it was commonly believed that this metal would stain when touching poison.