The hibachi (Japanese: 火鉢, "fire bowl") is a traditional Japanese heating device. It is a brazier which consists of a round, cylindrical, or box-shaped, open-topped container, made from or lined with a heatproof material and designed to hold burning charcoal. It is believed hibachi dates back to the Heian period (794 to 1185). It is filled with incombustible ash, and charcoal sits in the center of the ash. To handle the charcoal, a pair of metal chopsticks called hibashi (火箸, fire chopsticks) is used, in a way similar to Western fire irons or tongs. Hibachi was used for warming, not for cooking. It heats by radiation, and is too weak to warm a whole room, disappointing foreigners who expected such power. Sometimes people placed a tetsubin (鉄瓶, iron kettle) over the hibachi to boil water for tea and moist. Later, by the 1900s, some cooking were also done over the hibachi.: 251
Traditional Japanese houses were well ventilated (or poorly sealed), so carbon monoxide poisoning or suffocation from carbon dioxide from burning charcoal were of lesser concern. Nevertheless, such risks do exist, and proper handling is necessary to avoid accidents.: 255  Hibachi must never be used in airtight rooms such as those in Western buildings.: 129
In North America, the term "hibachi" refers to a small cooking stove heated by charcoal (called shichirin in Japanese), or to an iron hot plate (called teppan in Japanese) used in teppanyaki restaurants.
Primitive hibachi before Edo period (Fukagawa Edo Museum)
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