The most popular Christmas dinner tradition in Japan is to eat fried chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken. This tradition began in 1974 as the result of an aggressive “Kentucky for Christmas” advertising campaign designed to help the KFC franchise take off in Japan.
When KFCJ, owned by Mitsubishi, opened its 100th store in Japan in December of 1974 a Christmas advertising campaign was run to aggressively to promote the growing franchise. It took off with foreigners living in Japan who wanted a way to celebrate Christmas but were unable to find turkey which is not readily available in Japan. KFC made the idea popular and it has since become a popular Christmas meal.
The Christmas meal now costs around $40 USD and comes with wine and cake. Each year Christmas Eve is the most successful day for sales for KFCJ.
- History (link is external). Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan Ltd.
- KFC Japan (link is external). Mitsubishi Corporation.
- KFC Santa photo (link is external). Robert Sanzalone. Copyright 2008. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0, changes made to brightness and contrast.
- Why Japan is Obsessed with Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas (link is external). Smithsonian Magazine.
- Overview: Cost of meal, sales volume information, meal details.
- Image Credits: reflections on route