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Gender-free 'couples' chopsticks' produced in central Japan

"Couples' chopsticks" of the same white color and equal length. (Photo courtesy of Matsukan)

TOKYO -- A chopsticks manufacturer in central Japan's Fukui Prefecture has released a genderless set of identical "couples' chopsticks" -- differing from conventional "husband-and-wife" chopsticks which come in different colors and sizes.

    Husband-and-wife chopsticks, or "meoto hashi," are sold as sets of two pairs. Normally, each pair differs in qualities such as color, length and thickness according to gender -- with, for example, a black pair intended for the man, and a red pair intended for the woman.

    Matsukan Co.'s couples' chopsticks, or "fufu hashi" are 22.5 centimeters in length and white in color to symbolize equality. The idea for the gender-neutral set came from a female customer who told the company she preferred the male chopsticks and wanted to buy a set of husband-and-wife chopsticks differing from the usual kind.

    Matsukan, based in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, has been making chopsticks for 100 years. The new chopstick sets are being sold online and in stores including the Ginza Mitsukoshi department store for 11,000 yen (about $79). The set's first shipment has sold out online, with the next available shipment planned for late January, 2023.

    (Japanese original by Ayane Matsuyama, Business News Department)

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