Why Does Japan Eat KFC At Christmas?
KFC in Japan | © whologwhy, Flickr
Kentucky For Christmas
Japan’s Christmas KFC tradition began in 1974, when the company launched a new holiday marketing campaign. It’s thought that it was inspired by the Western Christmas tradition of a turkey dinner. Back then and still today, turkey is virtually impossible to find in Japan. So when Japan’s foreign Christian population couldn’t get their hands on any come December, they settled on the familiar fried chicken brand instead – the next best thing to turkey. Japan’s KFC marketing team saw this as an ideal opportunity to launch a Christmas campaign targeted at locals and foreigners alike, and the slogan ‘kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!’ or ‘Kentucky for Christmas!’ was born.
Christmas in Japan
Christmas in Japan is not a national holiday and isn’t celebrated for any of its religious connotations since very few Japanese identify themselves as Christian. Nevertheless, it’s still a festive occasion, and many host Christmas parties or decorate their homes, offices and stores for the holidays. It’s also an opportunity for companies to market commercial goods associated with Christmas. KFC was a pioneer in modern Christmastime marketing in Japan.
KFC and Christmas Today
Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan still reports record earnings at Christmastime each year. With wait times as long as two hours, all available employees come out to help, including top-level executives and typically behind-the-scenes staff. The restaurant is so popular at this time of year that some dinner specials can only be ordered in advance. A ‘Kentucky Christmas 2016’ dinner, complete with cake and salad, will set you back around 5,000 yen or 50 USD.
Kentucky = Christmas
There are a few explanations for KFC’s widespread, lasting popularity around Christmas in Japan. The first is the simplicity of the concept. Eating chicken at Christmas – especially now that it’s been cemented as a cultural tradition in Japan – is something that could potentially never go out of style. The company’s catchy Christmas slogan doesn’t hurt, either. Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii rolls off the tongue a lot easier than kurisumasu ni wa makudonarudo for McDonald’s.
Another lucky coincidence is the Kentucky Fried Chicken mascot’s physical similarities with Santa Claus. Santa makes appearances in Japan through pop culture and media, and thanks to the likeness of the two figures, many Japanese children confuse the two. The company further encourages this by dressing up their Colonel Sanders statues with festive red-and-white outfits each time the holiday rolls around.
Thanks to some clever marketing back in the 1970s, Christmas in Japan has become synonymous with a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The American fast food chain has celebrated its busiest time of year around the December holiday for 42 years and counting. Check out the history behind this cultural phenomenon.
Colonel Sanders as Santa in Nagoya, Japan © Robert Sanzalone/Flickr
Christmas in Japan © W00kie/Flickr
KFC in Akihabara, Tokyo © Ian Muttoo/Flickr
Colonel Sanders as Santa Claus © rumpleteaser/Flickr
- Is it possible to learn SIEM online
- When will the world truly end?no_redirect=1
- When did BLACKPINK win their first win
- What is the largest insect?no_redirect=1
- How does reading helps you in life
- How was your first ever internet experience
- How does global warming impact the environment?no_redirect=1
- Will Saudi Arabia go bankrupt
- What are some respected writing competitions
- What was Kurt Cobain like
- How can a beginner learn C language
- What do gamers think about Quora
- How much can fashion define someone
- Why isnt fasting popular
- What does negative entropy mean
- Are there feathers that are considered unlucky