The Japanese haven’t featured in my articles for a while so it’s time to redress that balance. Thankfully the festive season is not a slow patch for their ongoing madness. In England, and lots of other countries that the English overran, Christmas dinner is a roast dinner with turkey, or maybe duck or pigeon or some sort of flying beast. In other European countries it might be carp or prawns that are the centre piece. Everywhere is different, and that, to me, is the joy of the world. No two countries are the same.
Japan are relative late comers to Christmas cheer as they are of a Buddhist/ Shinto vibe in the majority, so Jesus is irrelevant to them, the population is actually only about 1% Christian. So the actual reason to celebrate Christmas is more about shopping, capitalism and celebrating westernism.
Back in 1974, a foreign chap in Japan went to KFC to get some fried chicken to celebrate Christmas because turkey is pretty much nowhere to be found in Japan. It’s not indigenous and there’s no call for it so they don’t import it (most Japanese homes either don’t have a cooker at all, or it’s way too small to fit in a bloated birdy). Someone working at KFC had a bright idea, and from then on they marketed KFC as the Western way to celebrate Christmas. Good thinking boys. It worked a treat. They used the phrase – “Christmas = Kentucky” and people were hooked. Many people in Japan genuinely think that a Colonel Sanders special is how Americans enjoy Christmas. It’s not their fault though, remember it was Coca-Cola branding and advertising that changed Santa from green to red. No one is impervious to the might of money grabbing marketeers.
On the 23rd, 24th and 25th of December people queue round the block, with some people pre-ordering their tasty drum sticks up to two months in advance! Those who didn’t think ahead may have to wait for up to two hours to get their lips around those succulent drummers.
This year a Japanese airline – JAL – are serving KFC meals over the Christmas period as a celebratory seasonal feast for travelers from Tokyo to America and Europe. I hope the passengers aren’t too disappointed when they arrive and realise that KFC is shut on Christmas day over here.
Here’s one of their seasonal ads… to me there is nothing less Christmasy than a greasy bucket, but then I guess I’m just a bit odd: