How does a country with a very low proportion of Christians celebrate Christmas? 3 letters; K, F, C. The celebration of Christmas day has, in Japan, become inextricably linked with eating fried chicken with long queues throughout the day for some finger licking goodness. The story begins in the 70’s with an intrepid businessman, who later became the CEO of KFC Japan, creating the special KFC Christmas bucket and corresponding ad campaign. From there on it’s anyone’s guess as to how it spread, but with an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families reportedly eating KFC on Christmas, it’s certainly cemented itself as a festive tradition.
While we wait for the next anthropological journal to cover this bizarre tradition I would suggest it probably came down to clever marketing by KFC over the years helped by the Japanese ability to monetize just about any holiday. Mix this with a lack of availability of turkey and of course Japan’s bizarre love of American culture and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a chicken, and the legendary 11 spices, takeover.
And me? I went for a sushi dinner. Christmas is about treating yourself, I’ll save the KFC for a post exam binge.