〔２０１０年３月２２日（月）： 『歴史フットパス・ウォーキング in 鎌倉』 の参加者募集中！〕
Ⅰ. How People Eat
1. How do people in the world eat？
Some people eat with their hands, some with chopsticks, and others using
2. What are the percentage rates of the people using the three different ways?
Hand-using people are 40%, chopstick users 30%, and cutlery users 30%.
1. When and where did chopsticks originate?
They originated in ancient China about 4,000 years ago, and became
commonly used around 2,000 years ago.
2. In what countries are chopsticks commonly used?
The countries where they have traditionally been used are China, Korea,
Japan and Vietnam. Among these countries, Japan is the only country
where only chopsticks are used as the primary eating utensils. In the other
countries they are used along with the spoon.
3. When were chopsticks introduced to Japan?
In the 7th century, or possibly 5th or 6th century together with Buddhism
and other Chinese cultures. They became commonly used among ordinary
people by the late 8th century.
1. When and where did the fork begin to be used as an eating utensil?
The table fork originated in Italy in the 11th century and became popular with
merchants and upper-class people by the end of the 16th century. It made its
way to other countries in Europe in the late 16th and 17th centuries.
2. How did people eat before the fork was introduced?
They mainly ate with their hands, sometimes using a spoon when necessary.
The only utensil set on the table was a single knife to carve meat with.
3. When did the knife, fork and spoon become commonly used as a set of
In the 19th century.
４. How did the fork develop to the present form?
Originally it was straight and usually had two tines.
The curved fork was developed in Germany in the mid 18th century. The
standard four-tine design became prevalent in the early 19th century.
The 20th century saw the emergence of the “spork”, a utensil that is half-
fork and half-spoon.
PART ２ Chopsticks and the Japanese
Ⅰ Japanese people have used chopsticks roughly 1,000 years longer than
Westerners have used knives and forks. No wonder the Japanese are so
attached to or even obsessed with chopsticks. There is even a saying “The life
of a Japanese begins and ends with chopsticks.”
1. 箸初め the first-use-of –chopsticks ceremony
When the baby is 100 days old, the parents hold for their baby a ceremony
called箸初め to hope and pray that their child will grow up well and never
have difficulty getting food throughout life.
2. Chopsticks of your own
Most people have their own pair of chopsticks to use at home, and it is not
common to use those which have been used by other people, even their own
3. Chopsticks connecting people with gods
Since ancient times, people in Japan have thought of chopsticks as one of
ways to be linked with the gods, and they are considered sacred. To this day,
they are placed alongside offerings to the deities.
4. 箸供養 a memorial service for chopsticks
Some shrines hold special rites for used chopsticks called 箸供養. It is
believed that the soul of the person who has used the chopsticks remains in
them. So instead of being thrown out, they are cremated with respect and
● 古街道研究家 道の考古学者 歴史ルポライター
● 歴史古街道団長 歴史古道まちづくりプランナー 歴史計画コンサルタント
● １４講座レギュラー講師 日本フットパス協会理事 １９５９年東京出身