Although only 2% of Japanese are Christian, they still celebrate Christmas. We will tell you why and how they celebrate it – which doesn’t involve going to church and eating turkeys!
Christmas in Japan is generally for a couple to go on a romantic date and have a special dinner. It’s a little bit like Valentine’s day although Japan also celebrate Valentine’s day too!
Then how did actually people start to celebrate Christmas with their partners? It started in 1980’s when many magazine articles were written about how to spend Christmas time with your partner, and TV advertisements showing romantic Christmas moments. These are done as a commercial strategy to sell services and products to boost economy all around from hotels and restaurants to shops and department stores selling Christmas presents. Since then people regard Christmas time for couples to spend romantic time.
Another tradition of Christmas in Japan which comes as a surprise to people in Europe and US is the fact that Japanese people eat KFC at Christmas. The idea of doing a big advertisement campaign for Christmas came to KFC in 1974 when they saw some foreigners came to KFC in Christmas as they couldn’t find turkey anywhere. Since then eating KFC in Christmas is a well-established concept, to the extent that only way to get KFC at Christmas is to book a Christmas special meal in advance!
As you can see Japan has some very unique Christmas traditions, developed by commercial strategies and advertising activities, and it’s not related in any way to the religious connotation in the Western world. In any way, all is well when it comes to having an excuse to get together and have fun times!