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Chopsticks designed by artists from Cheongju are on display at the Nagoya Tabletop Show in Nagoya, Japan, on Jan. 18 and 19.

Korean chopsticks will soon be lying more often at Japanese table settings. 

Chopsticks made by local artists from Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do Province, will be sold through the Japanese chopsticks retailer Hyozaemon (兵左衛門) starting in May. The products will be sold at Hoyaemon stores in major Japanese cities and in department stores. 

The group of Cheongju artists, funded by the Cheongju-si city government, displayed their chopsticks at the Nagoya Tabletop Show held from Jan. 18 to 19 at the Nagoya International Exhibition Hall in Japan. About 80 tableware sets, including lacquered spoons and chopsticks (옻칠수저), chopsticks made with prickly ash wood (분디나무 젓가락), brass and metal spoons and chopsticks and chopsticks decorated with gyubang gongyaecraftworks (규방공예) drew attention from many of the visitors. 

The Nagoya Tabletop Show is a semi-annual tableware fair with some 180 Japanese exhibitors, such as manufacturers and wholesale merchants, presenting tableware to around 5,000 visitors. 

“The visitors appreciated the eco-friendliness and artistic sensibility of the chopsticks made by the artists from Cheongju,” said an official from the Cheongju city government. “They particularly noted the natural beauty of the chopsticks made with wood from the prickly ash tree,” he said. 

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Chopsticks made with prickly ash wood (분디나무 젓가락), funded by the Cheongju city government, receive praise from visitors to the Nagoya Tabletop Show.

The table settings made by the artists from Cheongju were also displayed in Taiwan, in Niigata Prefecture, Japan, and, in Avignon, France. According to the Cheongju city government, all of the products on display were sold out. Also, some people even visited or called the artists to order more. 

The Korean Cultural Center in Thailand has also requested that chopsticks be displayed in its space in Bangkok. Starting April 24, some 100 sets of chopsticks and other crafts will be exhibited in a hall at the Korean Cultural Center in Thailand for three months. 

Finally, Cheongju City is also the host of the Chopsticks Festival, which takes place across 20 days around Nov. 11, the city's official “Chopsticks Day.” The event promotes chopstick-related activities, products and food at the Cheongju High-tech Cultural and Industrial Complex.