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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Japan's Kentucky Fried Christmas

It is that time of the year where Christmas cheer is spread throughout the world (well, almost). This also includes the Land of the Rising Sun.

Japan has a Christian population of about one percent, yet there are Christmas decorations in shopping centers, department stores and almost everywhere else.

To celebrate Christmas, the Japanese have adopted the custom of getting their Christmas meals at the local Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). This happened almost by accident. An expat in Japan went to a KFC and mentioned that since there's no turkeys in Japan, chicken would be the next best thing for a Christmas meal. This was overheard by the store's manager, who then passed it on to the company's higher-ups.

This led to a clever marketing strategy begun in 1974. Now Kentucky Fried Chicken and Christmas in Japan are virtually synonymous.

According to an article in The Diplomat:
Have you ever noticed that Colonel Sanders, the white-haired founder and mascot of American fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), bears a vague resemblance to Santa Claus? Probably not, and in fact you might never draw the connection without visiting Japan. 
Around this time of year, KFC outlets across the country dress their ubiquitous store-front Colonel Sanders statues in red and white Santa costumes in preparation for the restaurant’s busiest time of year. In the Land of the Rising Sun, where a mere one percent of the population practices Christianity, Christmas equals Kentucky.
 To read about how KFC and Christmas became conjoined in Japan, go here.

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