Christmas in Japan

Many years ago I heard T.R. Reid, then Tokyo bureau chief for The Washington Post, recount on NPR’s Morning Edition that KFC had convinced Japan that the American thing to do on Christmas was to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken. This struck me as implausible or at least likely exaggerated, so I asked a Japanese economist I knew if it was true. He sadly replied, “Yes, it’s true.” Apparently this is still going on. The Talking Points Memo website published a piece on it just before Christmas (link).

Japan has adopted some other aspects of Christmas, and back in 2000, I think it was, Tokyo’s Aqua City Odaiba Mall erected a giant smoke-breathing Christmas Godzilla wearing a Santa hat. For pictures see this link and this one. And there’s a piece from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader (link) that covers both Santa Godzilla and KFC Christmas.

Finally here’s an amusing report from a Brit teaching English in Japan on his KFC Christmas adventures. It’s under six minutes and worth a look:


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