Japanese artisanal woodworker Katsuyuki Miyabo is making custom chopsticks that makes its wielding a feasible task for all.
These chopsticks are primarily aimed towards the physically disabled or users with hand injuries. However, they simplify the use of chopsticks so those who wish for something like Baby’s First Chopsticks or training chopsticks may also find them very useful.
The key designs that make the chopsticks so friendly to the two groups alike are the spring and ergonomics. As you can tell from the pictures, they’re beautifully curvaceous and smooth at the grip which is customised to perfectly fit the particular physical needs of each of Miyabo’s clients. A spring holds the two sticks together which greatly reduces the force required to wield them.
Only in Japan, though
To that end, Miyabo generally holds sessions with each customer to properly calibrate his works, since each pair will be unique to each client. Usually, prospective clients choose from a selection of base designs and specific measurements and adjustments are made to tailor the design for that client.
For Miyabo, the meetings are helpful for a number of reasons. With all that individual attention, Miyabo catalogues a greater number of base designs that accommodate for more types of disabilities that people face on a daily basis. Miyabo also finds it personally satisfying as the new challenges and the help he gives to a mostly overlooked minority motivates him in his work.
It would seem that acquiring these chopsticks will require a trip to Japan. The meetings must happen in person and the artist doesn’t even list prices so expect a custom chopstick bill to run high. Though for his clients and considering that they would re-enable autonomous eating for them, the price tag for autonomy, and maybe even some sense of pride, is never too high.