Japan is largely a non-Christian country. In fact, many Japanese people would consider themselves non-religious even if they do practice everyday Shintoism and Buddhism. Yet this does not mean that Christmas has no impact throughout the country. Since the allied occupation after WWII, Japan has really embraced the Christmas spirit every late December. However it’s not like the Christmas you and I may know here in the West.
So what is Christmas like in Japan? Read on to find out!
Couples, Not Children
Christmas does not hold the family ties in Japan like it does here. New Year’s Day is more about family than Christmas is. You may see Christmas as more like Valentine’s Day in Japan than any Christmas you and I know.
Christmas Day is a huge dating holidaying in Japan. It’s especially fashionable for young couples to go on a romantic date and give each other small gifts. Some children also receive gifts too, but in general gift giving does not happen in Japan during Christmas. The holiday definitely does not hold the materialism that it does in the West.
Japanese Christmas songs tend to be more about romantic loneliness and breaking up with a lover too. Sure, you’ll hear some songs about lights and snow as well, but overall it’s about who you’re dating more than who you’re visiting.
Fried Chicken Everywhere
Back in the 1980s KFC Japan had a great idea. Why not tell the Japanese populace that they should eat chicken for Christmas? They launched a huge campaign telling people that the food to eat on Christmas is fried chicken, and it stuck.
Today, you will see advertisements from every restaurant that sells it talking about their great Christmas fried chicken. Families buy it in bulk and are amazed when Westerners tell them that the usual food they eat on Christmas is ham and turkey. Not in Japan!
No Religious Affiliation
Japan is largely disinterested in organized religion, and thus Christmas has no religious connotation for the most part. Ask the average Japanese person what the origins of Christmas are and they probably can’t tell you. Many have never even heard of Jesus and maybe only know a few things about the Bible. (Mostly that it’s a book for Christians.)
This doesn’t mean that there is no religious presence at all. The few Christian churches around, for one, will certainly have religious affiliation with the holiday if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you think you’re going to pop into a store and buy a nativity set, think again. You can find some ornaments, garlands, and lots of red and green, but that’s about it.
Christmas in Japan may not be what you’re expecting. Forget about religion (unless it’s important to you) and instead focus on what you’re going to do with your main squeeze. Don’t forget to pick up some fried chicken for dinner either! (Oh, and you can forget about having the day off.) No matter what you do, though, remember to have fun and just go with the flow. Visit AllJapanTours.…