Hashioki (箸置き)

Hashioki is a small object placed on a table to prevent chopsticks from rolling down. It is also called "hashi-makura (chopstick rest)". The tips of chopsticks which touch food are placed on hashioki, when setting the table and when a meal is finished. Hashioki is used since it is dirty if chopsticks are placed directly on the table and the tips touch the surface of the table, and it is also used to avoid the food particles remaining on the tips of chopsticks from touching the table and making the table dirty.

Mostly, hashioki is used in restaurants and ryotei, or Japanese-style luxury restaurants. Many hashioki are made of wood, glass, or porcelain, and have various shapes; but the basic shape is a narrow form with the center slightly dimpled, like a pillow. Some hashioki have a shape resembling food such as fish.

In some cases where disposable wooden chopsticks are used, the wrapping paper of chopsticks is folded to create impromptu hashioki.

Hashioki has its roots in objects such as mimi-gawarake (ear-shaped ceramic chopstick rest) and bato-ban (chopstick rest used by emperors).

When Japanese food is served, chopsticks are placed laterally with the tips on the user's left hand side. In places such as Vietnam, chopsticks are placed vertically with the tips looking away from the user.

Similar objects include knife rests and folk rests.

[Original Japanese]