Kentucky Fried Christmas – finger lickin’ good!

Kentucky Fried Chicken ChristmasWalking through the main arcade from the west exit of Yokohama station in mid November, I chuckled to myself as I witnessed Don Quixote employees replacing the usual risqué コスプレ (cosplay) outfits from the store front displays and replacing them with Santa and reindeer outfits. As I looked to the other side of the street, Colonel Sanders had already donned his Santa clothes and above him read a banner that KFC were ready to take orders for Christmas Eve. Those reading this article from abroad might assume the sight of this may have shocked or horrified me, but, as is the case after living here for a while, I simply shrugged and moved on.

For those that have spent at least one Christmas here would know that a Japanese-style Christmas is more like an early Valentines Day, but instead of chocolates, couples are more inclined to hock into a Two-piece KFC Feed. Whilst back home the thought of pulling through the KFC drive-thru on Christmas Eve might almost seem sacrilegious, in Japan it has almost become tradition, and the Kentucky Fried marketing dept must be loving it!

KFC opened its first restaurant in Nagoya in 1970, one year earlier than McDonald’s entered the market. Soon after, KFC began an advertising campaign with the Colonel dressed up as Santa, and so began KFC’s monopoly over the festive season. Kentucky Fried Chicken Christmas PackGetting back to the point about Christmas being an early Valentines Day, families are also not forgotten with KFC bringing out family Christmas Packs, accommodating the nuclear Japanese family’s needs, i.e. just enough for mum, dad and their only child.

After living in Japan for a while, the convenience of having a takeaway Christmas dinner is quite tempting considering how difficult it is to have a proper Christmas roast without an oven. While we all might crave for a home cooked roast lamb, beef or turkey, a readily available roast chicken with the Colonel’s 12 secret herbs and spices is certainly more appealing than a trip out to CostCo.

Kentucky Fried Chicken ChristmasKentucky Fried Christmas is a fine example of commercialism at its best, and Japan’s hunger for it. As we see Christmas becoming more and more commercial back in our home countries, Japan manages to do one better and add fast food to the mix. Let’s hope Japan doesn’t discover Easter or else we’ll be inundated with another commercially drained holiday. Luckily that falls (usually) at a time of the year when people are still recovering from their hanami hangovers, while Christmas falls at that virtuous time between the compulsory Bonenkai (end-of-year party) and New Year’s.

Anyway, a Merry Christmas to you all from! If you haven’t already booked your KFC feast, better get down their quick or you’ll be forced to join the block long queue!

7 thoughts on “Kentucky Fried Christmas – finger lickin’ good!”

  1. It’s not just Japan, eh. Someone told me that the Chinese branch of KFC makes more money than the American one! No idea if that’s true or not.

  2. I agree that its not just Japan. Or Asia. My family, from down-under, decided that as it is summer for Christmas, and no-one really wants to cook, that we should have KFC for Christmas dinner. Christmas chicken from from Col. Sanders for 4-5 years. I think Grandma “put a stop to that rubbish” though.

  3. steve88, I know what you mean, and with firebans the past few Xmas, the traditional BBQ has gone and the family has resorted to Red Rooster. Heading back home this Xmas so hope the trend changes.

  4. I recall my first winter in Japan being amazed by KFC and Christmas Cake, now I don’t think twice. In my time in Japan, I’ve really never gone to KFC, because everytime I go it takes a long for them to make the food, if it’s not already been fried and sitting in the bin. That said, I rather like the twisters, although it’s pretty much から揚げ wrapped. If anything, KFC’s always been big in my mind because I went to school in Osaka, thusly I love Hanshin, and here comes the urban legend of the Curse of Colonel Sanders. Ah.. love those Kansai people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *