Given Japan’s borderline infatuation with certain elements of Western culture you’d expect to see some variations of the basic concept of Santa Claus during the holiday season. Thanks to a hugely successful 1974 Kentucky Fried Chicken ad campaign (“Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” or “Kentucky for Christmas”), the jolly old fat man in a red suit looks eerily like KFC’s Colonel Sanders. And it’s chicken, not turkey (a meat that is nearly impossible to find in Japan). that thousands of Japanese families dine on when December 25 roles around.
Although Christmas is a Western holiday that means almost nothing in Japan (only 1% of the population is Christian), December 25 is a day that means huge sales for KFC across the country; at many locations you can expect waits of up to two hours or more for a bucket of deep-fried Christmas chicken. In 2015, KFC outlets selling packaged dinners that included cake and champagne saw sales pushing $50 million (U.S.) between December 23-25. Ho ho ho, and pass the drumsticks.
Story by Jay Moon