How Is Christmas Celebrated in Japan?

Since the 1970s, the Japanese have associated Christmas with celebrations centered around a portly, white-haired guy with facial hair, and families gathered around the table with a taste for poultry. The similarities to the American holiday end there, however. In Japan, thanks to a wildly successful KFC marketing campaign that began in 1974, many look forward to a bucket of fried chicken cooked up by Colonel Sanders. Although only about 1% of the Japanese population identifies as Christian, many look forward to KFC’s "Finger Lickin’ Good" chicken for Christmas dinner, taking part in a national tradition that was entirely inspired by the marketing catchphrase Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii, or "Kentucky for Christmas."

May all your Christmases be ... fried?

  • The KFC Christmas meal packages often feature side dishes, cake, and wine.

  • KFC says that the whole idea started with Takeshi Okawara, the manager of Japan's first KFC restaurant. Overhearing expats in his store looking for a turkey feast on Christmas, he started selling a Party Barrel of chicken on the holiday.

  • From 1 December through 28 February, passengers on certain flights between Tokyo and eight American and European destinations can enjoy KFC in the air.

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More Info: BBC

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