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Makers of chopsticks in Obama, Fukui since 1921 Hyozaemon are one of the reasons that that town is synonymous with fine implements for eating.  Chopsticks are perhaps the items in craft that come closest to the human body.  Mis-bite, and you might eat them.  Conscious of this, Hyozaemon use entirely natural materials in their production.  There is no bleaching, no plastic.  Rather wood, lacquer and beeswax.  Combined with this is a spirit in handmade craft that connects maker to user.  The patterns made by craftspeople incorporate traditional motifs and new ideas.  One series of their work, recycles broken baseball bats, and invests part of the proceeds into sustainable forestry of the wood used to make them.  Retaining a design ethos and craft from the Taisho period in which they were formed, Hyozaemon incorporate modern ideals of sustainability and materials.  In Japan, chopsticks are partners in life.  They are among the first gifts given to children after birth, and form part of funeral rites.  Hyozaemon reflect this special status in their work, and seek daily to manufacture items worthy of it.

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