For more than a hundred years, wood left-over from Japanese home construction has been upcycled to make disposable chopsticks in Yoshino, Nara prefecture, Japan, they called it – the Hamidashimono. Every Hamidashimono is upcycled, collected, stored and dried as if it were a regular pair of izakaya-grade chopsticks and once whittled, is ready for use.
With the support from Lotus LLC of Japan, three Japan-based designers – Jan Chipchase, James Gibson and Eko Hayashi – produced the Hamidashimono KIT, a chopstick making kit with premium wood left-over – after their visit to the family-owned Kitamura Seihashishohe, the old chopstick factory in Yoshino. It is where the production of disposable chopsticks already started in the late 1800’s from the recycling of used sake barrels. But today they are made from the leftover planks of locally grown trees which has been used to construct beams for traditional Japanese homes.
Together with local craftspeople in Yoshino, the three designers mentioned above launch their first izakaya-grade chopstick making kit: Hamidashimono #1:…
The Hamidashimono #1 kit includes:
- 50 x Hamidashimono
- 1 x Higonokami Superior Brass whittling knife
- 10 x #240 grade sandpaper
- 1 x cedar chopstick holder, ideal for displaying
- 25 x Ue Washi Koubou hand made paper bands for wrapping chopsticks prior to use
- An indigo dyed tenugui
They use upcycled cypress from the chopstick manufacturing process sourced directly from the Kitamura Seihashisho. The bundle of premium cypress Hamidashimono can be used to whittle twenty-five pairs of chopsticks. You can see above, Kitamura San, the 2nd generation owner of Kitamura Seihashisho, holding a pair of finished chopsticks he made his own.
Another product in the store of Hamidashimono is Higonokami Superior Brass. It is made in Japan by Nagao Konekoma Factory, ideal for whittling the Hamidashimono. The brass ages beautifully, taking on a dark patina with use.
To support the traditional craft and the Yoshino community, a third of all profits from Hamidashimono kits are shared with Kitamura Seihashisho. The forests around Yoshino are very well maintained, and tours can be arranged. Watch below to see the artistic and quiet Yoshino town:…