The Art of Making Chopstick Rests
Though we don’t often consider their importance, chopstick rests play an integral role in Japanese culture. For those who are unfamiliar, chopstick rests, or hashioki, are exactly what they sound like: an elevated rest to lay your chopsticks during a meal! Using a chopstick rest is a great way to prevent a mess and keep your place setting look put together -- two major aspects of Japanese culture. Bokksu recently teamed up with some really special chopstick rest makers, and we are proud to announce that we now sell their products in our store! To welcome them into the Bokksu family, we’re giving you an exclusive behind the scenes look at what goes on at Yamashita Toen.
Yamashita Toen is run by a third generation pottery maker in Japan named Kazuhisa Yamashita. In keeping with the traditional Nagasaki craft, Yamashita Toen makes unique Hasami porcelain pottery (Hasami-yaki) unlike anyone else. Most Yamashita Toen products are made in-house by hand instead of factories, so the craftspeople can enjoy, value, and improve their work continuously throughout the process. They chose to run their business this way when Kazuhisa Yamashita realized just how saturated the market had become with imported products and cheap materials, and he felt his hard work and dedication to his craft was being diminished by his “cutting corners” competitors. As the demand for price-oriented requests increased and the amount of craftsmen eager to learn the trade decreased, Yamashita had to find a way to make his business stand out from all the rest.
Kazuhisa Yamashita says about his business: “What we do is not something that anyone can do. Work becomes fun because we do things that only we can do. What you enjoy and create will surely become an attractive product that has never been seen before. It is the first step to solve all problems that we are excited to work on.” Yamashita Toen operates around the management philosophy that they are to create “unprecedented value in the world of ceramics by pursuing manufacturing that only we can do and the joy of manufacturing,” and we believe they are delivering on their promise!
Interested in trying out their product? You’re in luck, because we have a beautiful Hasami porcelain set available now on our website! The Hasami Ware Chopstick Rest: 5 Piece Set from the JIYU series includes five beautiful, authentically made handmade pastel colored chopstick rests. The JIYU series is all about exploring versatility of glaze, which is why these chopstick rests were made with a matte finish. The pastel colors also serve a purpose: each color is meant to represent the beautiful and natural scenery that can be seen all throughout Japan. And with a value of 5 chopstick rests for only $30, this Hasami porcelain set is a great introduction to the uninitiated who are looking to start their chopstick holder collection pronto!
Hasami porcelain is a beloved kind of Japanese pottery, and for good reason. It is beautiful, functional, and its tradition can be traced back to the Edo period of 400 years ago. The popularity of Hasami wares still prevails today, and it’s makers like Yamashita Toen that will keep the product alive for another 400 years to come.