Why are steel chopsticks popular in Korea but not in Japan (Source: Bestchopsticks.com)
It's not exactly a new trend, as Koreans have apparently been using metal chopsticks for centuries. That said, I’ll forewarn readers that a lot of this is my speculation as I haven’t found too much documentation of the why…as of writing this.
Fujian (PRUnderground) July 29th, 2019
For Koreans, it’s harder to say why exactly the use of metal chopsticks was so common when compared to Japan or even China. Some say it was likely due to the fact that metal spoons were also commonly used, so it just seemed natural to use metal chopsticks as well. Ultimately, I think the comes down to this: why not? As I mentioned already, Korea had greater reserves of iron ore than Japan did (and much more frequent trade with China to supplement). Also, they did they have the same eating etiquette that existed in China, which dictated that it is rude to lift ones plate/bowl while eating. Thus, some have proposed that it was more cumbersome to pick up rice with metal chopsticks without lifting the bowl (sidenote: I’ve tried this out, however, and it didn’t seem any less difficult with wooden ones, so I’m not sure how true that is) and also looked down on eating rice with a spoon. Koreans, on the other hand, don’t seem as strict with their eating etiquette, at least in those regards, as they had no qualms with using spoons for rice or lifting their plates.
Now of course, Japan wouldn’t have any problems producing metal chopsticks today, so what’s the deal? Well, why should they? Each country in Asia has been using chopsticks for thousands of years, and during that time have modified them to suit their own cultural tastes. What they have and have always had works for them. Koreans are accustomed to metal chopsticks and prefer to use them. Japan is not accustomed to metal chopsticks but are comfortable with wooden ones.
Back to chopsticks, for convenience to cleaning, durability, and carefulness habit against losing, Koreans have used spoons and chopsticks made by metal from ㅑIron age(corrected from Bronze age), and it is one of the most representative characteristic cultural customs of Koreans.
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