A Japanese Christmas

Author: Theo F.
Editor: Aika M.

 The winter holiday season is enjoyed worldwide. For instance, when “Christmas” comes up in a conversation, it is safe to say that most of us think of Santa Claus or the birth of Jesus Christ. However, through centuries of history, the holiday has absorbed aspects from different cultures and religions to the point that we cannot say there is only one true origin behind the festival.

A western influence
KFC set for Christmas

 I was a bit surprised when I learnt that most of my Japanese friends have Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) as their go-to food for Christmas, so I decided to do some research. In Japan, chicken was popularised as a staple food back in the 1970s. The thriving economy allowed Japanese citizens to live more extravagant lives and US companies saw increasing opportunities to expand overseas. Amongst which, KFC took their chance and advertised Christmas chicken as an American tradition. The marketing campaign was a success as it effectively imprinted the concept of “Kentucky for Christmas” in Japan’s culture.

(Source: https://www.cnn.co.jp/business/35147384-2.html)

Family, friends, or the significant other?

 In countries with Christian cultural influences, Christmas is generally celebrated within the family – exchanging presents or whatnot. However, in Japan, Christianity never really took off and no one really paid attention to Christmas until late in the 20th century. Nowadays Christmas in Japan is popularized as a holiday for spreading happiness, and an evening where couples spend time together.

holiday season in kawagoe
Crea Mall streets with hanging Christmas lights

 Although we are situated in the middle of Saitama, Kawagoe offers quite a few options for winter illumination lovers. I recommend doing some Christmas shopping in Crea Mall and witnessing its sparkling additions, or returning to the classic stroll through historic Koedo with illumination in a warmer palette.

Koedo at night

 For those who prefer a more modern atmosphere, U_PLACE and UNICUS are great choices. These are basically three-storey malls with built-in cafes and restaurants where you can do your shopping while appreciating the colourful Christmas lights from the inside.

Crea Park

 Kawagoe Farmer’s Market hosts a Christmas market in Crea Park. Make sure you don’t miss it if you are interested in some fresh Christmas delicacies!

(For more information: https://twitter.com/kawagoemarket/status/1472214231949144064/)

 Here at TIU, we saw our own quirky way of celebrating the holidays.

Illuminations on TIU’s Campus 1

 It was definitely interesting to learn that historical events find a way to influence our  holiday culture in such a manner. Feel free to try and spend Christmas in a Japanese fashion at a KFC if you are feeling for some chicken or go on a date surrounded by traditional Koedo lights!

Published by

Theo F.

Fiction writer