Chopsticks have been used in China for centuries and have influenced all surrounding Asian countries. It is believed that the use of chopsticks began when food was cut smaller to decrease cooking time, thereby eliminating the need for knives at the dinner table. It was Confucius who spread their use even further by declaring that an honorable and upright man does not allow knives on his table because they are objects of aggression that have no place amongst peaceful occasions. Chopsticks are available in many types and sizes. Different materials and styles have grown to stand for regions or countries. Lacquered wooden chopsticks are generally found in Japanese societies, whereas unfinished wooden types are typically from Chinese cultures. Chinese chopsticks are also slightly longer than Japanese types, and taper to a blunt end rather than a pointed end.
Various materials are used to make chopsticks depending upon their application. Bamboo chopsticks are the most common type since this type of wood is highly resistant to heat and very inexpensive. Plastic models are also available, as well as finer wood models. Though not as widely available in westernized countries, chopsticks made from precious metals are not uncommon in wealthy Asian families.