Nuri-Bashi Lacquered Chopsticks

Japanese chopsticks, known as Hashi, are revered the world over for their beauty and artistry. A range from Waribashi, disposable chopsticks, all the way to the luxury Nuri-Bashi, which carry finely-painted lacquer finishes helps merchants meet their every need.

To bring forth such visual appeal in a wooden chopstick has long been the domain of artisans, trained in traditional craft.

Lacquered Chopsticks Are Vital Cultural Symbols

Chopsticks intertwine with Japan’s history and culture and enrich the country’s food heritage. The utensils and Japanese cuisine are so crucial to the country’s culture that UNESCO conferred them as an intangible cultural heritage. That means they’re part of a social custom upheld through many generations. These traditions express the respect that Japanese people hold for nature.

To protect this heritage, the Japanese government applied for the designation in 2012. When writing their application, they outlined four essential areas that make their cuisine worthy of worldwide recognition.

  • Japanese cuisine uses a diverse range of fresh ingredients that maintain a healthy level of respect for their inherent flavors.
  • The country’s cuisine is part of an exceptionally well-balanced and healthy diet.
  • The food is an expression of natural beauty and the changing seasons.
  • The fare maintains close links with critical annual events that celebrate Japanese heritage.

Chopsticks are a significant component of Japanese cuisine and the traditions surrounding food and the people. The UNESCO designation shows the world that Japanese cuisine plays a vital role in the country’s social identity, and the nation will continue to cherish the connection forever.

It’s worth keeping these concepts in mind when you’re evaluating the role chopsticks play in traditional cuisines and eating in Japan. Both are intertwined and, when conceptualized as one, help form a crystal-clear picture of how the Japanese respect this aspect of their historical culture.

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Chopstick Etiquette Is Worth Knowing

Don’t overlook how etiquette and chopsticks go hand in hand. To avoid embarrassment, following these guidelines helps to keep your reputation in good standing.

  • The first thing to learn is to hold your chopsticks correctly. Sometimes, easier said than done.
  • It’s never polite to eat directly from serving dishes. The proper protocol is to politely take food from shared bowls and place it onto your plate or bowl before digging in and consuming it.
  • Always use a chopstick holder.
  • Don’t dig through food. Please select what you want to eat next, and use your chopsticks to pick it up and consume.
  • Don’t lick chopsticks. It’s inconsiderate and not something others want to witness. Never leave the chopsticks in your mouth while eating.
  • Be careful about giving food to others.
  • Chopsticks are vital food utensils, not toys.
  • Avoid Tsukitate-Bashi, which is putting your chopsticks into a bowl of rice vertically. The Japanese reserve this tradition for funerals, not for everyday dining.

Like other forms of etiquette, it’s not so much what you do, but ensuring you don’t do certain things considered to be socially unacceptable. For those unfamiliar with the culture, you might not get everything right the first time. However, start learning now, and it shouldn’t take too much time and effort to master the art of using chopsticks the Japanese way.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a supply of Hashi-Oki, which are the rests for chopsticks, use them. These are small ceramic objects used by people to rest the end of the chopsticks when not in use.

There’s no shame in not understanding every nuance of using chopsticks at first. As long as you have a willingness to learn and respect the culture, you’ll get the hang of using them traditionally.

Quality Is an Integral Part of the Japanese Cuisine Tradition

As the UNESCO designation implies, the Japanese maintain a long tradition of focusing on the highest-quality food preparation. The passion they exhibit extends from food preparation to consumption, which is exemplified by chopsticks.

One of the reasons the government is safeguarding Washoku is that younger generations are leaving behind many traditions. Without a preservation effort in place, the old ways might give way to modern convenience. That’s why foodservice companies who are part of this heritage must make efforts to educate others while respecting this legacy.

The lower-end disposable chopstick market is giving way as consumers look for sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives. When they do, many turn their sights towards Fukui prefecture, which is renowned for manufacturing lacquerware chopsticks called Wakasa-Nuri. The reason the artisans in that district are so skilled gets credited to the four hundred year tradition that’s passed from generation to generation.

Wakasa-Nuri is known for its comfortable touch feeling, as well as the beautiful embellishments that adorn them. They’re moisture-resistant, making them ideal and suitable for daily use. One of the main reasons why these types of chopsticks are less popular than others is because they’re more expensive due to the effort required by artisans to manufacture them. That’s changing now, though, thanks to a new process from Edofiber.

Mass Production Makes Japanese Traditions More Accessible

Japanese chopsticks carry a premium price over Chinese competitors. The reason is the reputation for high-quality that’s a part of the tradition. Diners regard the final product for its finish and visual appeal.

Although many people use disposable chopsticks -worldwide estimates say 80 billion of them each year, the drawbacks are evident. Using one set for each meal is wasteful and contributes to numerous problems. That’s why nondisposable utensils are gaining ground. They provide a more sustainable solution while remaining aesthetically pleasing.

Edofiber is a company that’s uniquely qualified to sell chopsticks that maintain Japan’s rich cuisine legacy. The company has decades of operational history, with a singular focus on producing high-quality products for foodservice companies.

A prime example is our new product offering, Nuri-Bashi chopsticks. We have pioneered a new technique to mass-produce these culturally-important utensils, making them an ideal addition for foodservice companies.

Edofiber is a top-rated supplier of chopsticks as well as Washi paper supplies for restaurants and foodservice companies worldwide. We’re the first Forest Stewardship Council certified Washi makers in the world. Our commitment to sustainability is in total alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

If you would like more details on these high-quality products, reach out today for more information.