Millions Of People In Japan Will Eat KFC This Christmas

Alfie PowellAlfie Powell in News, Weird
Published 24.12.19

Japan will play host to another heavily fried chicken involved Christmas once again this year, and the KFC tradition shines through many others as one of the most bizarre in the country.

Christmas traditions are in no shortage, as everyone’s got their own and seem to turn their noses up at others. In my house, after dinner and the accompanying accoutrement, we all sit down for a few games of bingo, where the tombola-jockey has to wear a sparkly bowtie and the prizes to be won are all horrible bits of tat from the Poundshop.


christmas dinner favourites

Harmless fun. I wouldn’t expect anyone else to spend their Christmas like that though, and nor would I be at all interested in spending my Christmas the way certain other people do. I’m pretty open-minded, but new traditions are not welcome on Christmas.

Least of all, in my house at least, is a very popular Christmas tradition that’s most popular in Japan, as millions of their countrymen love nothing more than to sit down with a KFC meal to celebrate Noel.


You wouldn’t expect it from Japan, would you, but the Colonel’s rise to prominence on Chrimbo is actually easily traced, with the owner of the first KFC franchise in Japan being responsible.

Store manager Takeshi Okawara said it all started when he was asked to get involved at a school Christmas party, presumably to help with the catering.

As Christmas wasn’t huge in Japan at the time, he simply told people there that in the West, KFC is a mainstay of the festive menu and before long, other schools were asking for Okawara’s help.

kfc japan


After that, Western-themed Christmas parties became more and more popular and eventually, the tradition seeped into normal society, with people taking part regardless of whether or not they were with a school or a party.

As Okawara told Business Insider:

I… know that the people are not eating chicken, they are eating turkey. But I said yes.

It was [a] lie, I still regret that. But people… like it.


Can’t say fairer than that.

Years later, millions flock to the fast food restaurant in Japan for their Christmas meal, and people even have to order their food way in advance.

Unlike most fast food, it’s not cheap either, with a meal setting you back around 3,336 yen (£20).

I’ll stick to lovely, dry, tasteless turkey, thanks.

Images via KFC Japan