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Have A Holly Jolly KFC Christmas


Festive lights, Christmas trees, Santa, and…KFC? Japan has a unique way of getting into the Christmas spirit, including indulging in a meal from the American fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).


The tradition started in the early 1970s. According to KFC Japan spokesperson Motoichi Nakatani, the manager of the first KFC restaurant in Japan, Takeshi Okawara promoted fried chicken "party barrels" as a replacement for the American Christmas turkey dinner. 


Some reports have said Okawara marketed fried chicken as an American Christmas meal to increase sales. However, according to KFC Japan, the idea first came to Okawara when he attended a Christmas party dressed as Santa. The kids loved it, and that inspired his new business endeavor. 


Okawara marketed the barrels to celebrate the holiday, which needed more tradition in the country. Since then, KFC has become a Japanese Christmas staple, thanks to the successful "Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii" (Kentucky for Christmas) advertising campaign launched in 1974


According to the Japan Rail Pass (JRPass), an estimated 3.6 million families enjoy KFC every Christmas. Statistics show KFC Japan earned 6.9 billion yen (about US$63 million) between December 20 and 25 in 2018.


Christmas eve (December 24) is one of the busiest days for KFC Japan, where they sell roughly ten times more than the average day. Due to high demand, most people pre-order their dinners approximately a month and a half in advance to avoid long lines.


The party barrel includes about eight pieces of the original chicken recipe, a cheese-based Christmas cake, and a Doria- a rice and meat sauce dish popular in the country. The cost is about 4,480 yen (US$33). They also offer several lower-cost options and a "Premium Roast Chicken" for 6,200 yen (US$45) this year.


Roughly 1% of the population in Japan identifies as Christian, and the country does not consider Christmas a national holiday. According to the JRPass, the holiday first came to the Country after World War II when Christian missionaries brought the notion of Christmas to Japan. 


"Japan adopted the holiday, not for religious reasons, but to show prosperity in a modern world," JRPass said in a blogpost.


In Japan, Christmas is celebrated in a different way than it is in western countries. Japanese people see Christmas as a time to spend with friends and significant others. They celebrate by throwing parties and going out to dinner. 


In fact, Christmas Eve is the most romantic day of the year in the country. It's often considered the Japanese version of Valentine's day for Americans. So much so that they likely won't be seen in public if they don't have a date on Christmas Eve. Since Christmas is not a traditional holiday, only couples partake in gift-giving.


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Tags: #Japan #Christmas #ChristmasEve #KFC


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