There are many differences that can be seen on the 25th December in the UK and in  Japan, including a unique sensation that has swept the latter country, and here I will highlight a few from my experiences of both.

 

First of all- when walking down the street you don’t really notice that it is Christmas in Japan. All the shops are open and so are the schools, and this is due to only 1-2% of the population actually being Christian. In England you have high streets shining with Christmas lights, yet in Japan I have only seen one house with Christmas decorations up on show. The large holiday at this time of year here is  the  New Year. Japanese families, instead of having Christmas, all gather over the New Year and give out money to the family children, which means that Christmas is largely overlooked on the December calendar.

 

Secondly, you thought the commercialisation of Christmas in the UK is bad (John Lewis always mysteriously sell more after their Christmas vid), but Japan take it to another level. Everywhere you look in a department store you see big red signs being held by either a cardboard santa or a worker in a santa suit, and Christmas music blares out solely to signify that something is 30% off. They have Christmas sales followed by Christmas clearance sales followed by New Year sales. England’s commercialisation makes sense to some extent as many celebrate it and therefore need gifts but in Japan it is just used to fish in customers.

 

Lastly, in England it is very likely your family all sit down and have a trademark Christmas dinner- turkey, brussels sprouts, the lot- but they do it a different way in Japan. Since the 1980’s KFC had a strong campaign that was ‘Kentucky for Christmas”, a big bucket of KFC to be sold on Christmas Eve and each year more and more people bought into it as a Japanese tradition. Nowadays, around 3.8 million people eat KFC on Christmas Eve in Japan and it is essential to preorder your bucket as queues leave the store. When I had it last year it had a surprising range of selection-

you could even order some turkey on the side! One more tradition is to have a Christmas cake, this goes back way before KFC came into place.

 

Overall, the differences are that It is just a normal day in Japan,  there is a lot larger commercialisation for how many people actually celebrate Christmas and lastly, KFC make a lot more money!

 

Leo Walton STOGS