Japanese Way of Celebrating Christmas

KFC Christams in Japan

Would you believe it if I told you that in Japan, we celebrate Christmas with KFC?? 🍗

Yes, you heard it right. Here in Japan, for every Christmas, many families and friends order buckets of KFC fried chicken for Christmas dinner and gatherings! In December, the life-size Carnell Sanders dolls placed in front of every KFC location around the country are dressed up as Santa Claus.

We order the buckets ahead of time to reserve our fried chicken. This may sound crazy. But the tradition is so popular that it’s just impossible to walk in to a store on Christmas Eve hoping to buy fried chicken.

I wanted to share this interesting fact with you, so I dug into how this tradition started.

It all started in 1971 or 1972, when a foreign customer came into a KFC store in Tokyo during the Christmas season. They said, “I’m hosting a Christmas party, but I can’t get turkey in Japan, so I’ll have KFC instead (fried chicken instead).”

The manager of the store, which was frequented by many foreigners, saw a business opportunity and launched the “Have KFC for Christmas” campaign. It was a huge success, and it grew to become the company's marketing campaign.

The Christmas campaign for KFC Japan began in 1974. The tagline "Kentucky for Christmas" was promoted through TV commercials and all types of media. At that time Christmas in Japan was a much simpler event which people ate cake and exchanged gifts. They say that the KFC Japan’s campaign was so successful because it was launched at a period when Japan’s Christmas culture was still establishing.

The “Party Barrel,” which was released in 1983, cemented the KFC-Christmas image. It’s the combination of original chicken on the top shelf, salad in the middle shelf, and cake and ice cream on the bottom shelf. The Party Barrel became a huge hit. Every year, the company continues to release the year’s Party Barrel.

KFC Christmas in Japan

This topic of food is making me hungry. I am closing this message now and go enjoy my family. Before I leave, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my blog posts this year. I truly appreciate your support!

May your heart be filled with all the joys of the season.

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