Why is KFC a Christmas tradition in Japan?


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/20/why-is-kfc-a-christmas-traditi.html


Before reading the article, I thought surely it was because KFC’s undersized, miniature-bred chickens fit right in with the cramped, tight atmosphere of Tokyo.


i wonder if the sentence structure is intentional… there’s a japanese tongue twister that goes “Uraniwa ni wa niwa, niwa ni wa niwa niwatori ga iru.” which means “there are 2 chickens in the back yard and 2 in the front”.


Well with the leaked KFC recipe it should be trivial to just make your own improved version if one were in Japan. And the chicken would be fresher, which one would think they’d be all for.


“Party Barrel” sounds way cooler than a bucket of chicken. :confused:


So, now I get that they created a holiday tradition where there was none and it filled a void, but I’m left with a bigger question:

Why did the Japanese people decide, en masse, that they wanted to start celebrating Christmas in the 70s?


“Ni wa” is roughly “it’s there,” so “Christmas is in Kentucky,” or “chickens is in yard.” It’s a little awkward in English, but then again so is KFC.


The Japanese definitely have a love for consumerism when it comes to American trends, and my take is that the KFC promo did well because it had no religious connotations and may have made it easier for the average person there buy into this Xmas dinner. Plus it’s fried chicken, who doesn’t love fried food?


Sounds like most religions.


yoku wakatta, nihongo dekimasu… i just wondered because kentakkii no kurisumasu seemed a little more direct but then again as a non native speaker, who the hell knows what sounds best. on the other hand when i was in japan “i feel coke” was coca-cola’s slogan and on the first day i heard it i was like “What???” but by the end of my stay it made perfect sense.


This is even better than the traditional visit from Annual Gift Man:



It’s not just Japan, KFC is very popular for Christmas in Asia period.


Hong Kong:



It would be in China too if there wasn’t the stickiness surrounding non-state holidays there. Doubly so for Christian holidays.


"Marketing, that’s what."
That sentence describes pretty a good chunk of Christmas and its “traditions,” not to mention a whole bunch of other fundamental American traditions (e.g. wedding traditions).


“Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii”



Oh gawd, I am SO HUNGRY right now!


There’s something inspiring about a society in which a restaurant franchise can put freestanding mannequins outside of its establishments without them all getting horribly vandalized within the hour. Or so I presume.

Reading up on the rigors to which Ronald McDonald benches have been subjected is left as an exercise to the reader.


I was just going to say the same thing. Last visit to Taipei we saw KFC and 7-11’s on pretty much every street corner. Our Taiwanese exchange student repeated the same KFC obsession although mostly for New Year’s (Western New Year - not Chinese New Year which is a completely different thing).

My brother has lived in Japan for 25 years and it never ceases to amuse him on the various “traditions” that the Japanese have adopted based on US marketing.


It’s also worth mentioning how popular fried chicken fast food is across the pacific (these are from Taiwan):


Makes sense due to the general lack of available agricultural land for cattle and other large livestock animals. Most beef products are imported and expensive but chickens can be raised locally.

About Taipei and the prevalence of US fast food places, I remarked to my wife that we seemed to have exported the worst aspects of our culture.