For American families, it's almost sacrilegious for a #Christmas meal to come from anywhere but your own over or stove. That issue doesn't exist in #Japan because Christmas is hardly celebrated -- less than one percent of people are Christian. But the people there still have traditions for December 25, with the most pertinent one being the obsession over #KFC on the holiday.

History of Japanese tradition

KFC was opened in Japan for the first time in March 1970, with mixed results. There was clearly an appetite for fried chicken in the country, but some hesitation about the incorporation of an American business hailing from the country that dropped two nuclear bombs on the nation just 25 years prior.

Advertisements
Advertisements

A Christmas advertising campaign would change that narrative, though.

In 1974, the campaign "Kentucky for Christmas" took off, leading many in Japan to a KFC store for a holiday meal. Like all traditions, the need for fried chicken on December 25 became habitual and only grew in popularity from the start, becoming one of the most popular traditions on a holiday many in the country don't celebrate, but now feel a kinship toward anyway.

What a KFC Christmas looks like

For those in Japan who are in search of KFC on Christmas, walking into a store on December 25 likely isn't going to cut it. The chain offers "Christmas Party Barrels" on the holiday and they generally need to be reserved in advance to be had. Early reservations lead to deals, almost like Black Friday in the United States. Around 3.6 million Japanese families partake in the tradition yearly.

Advertisements

The mascot of KFC, Colonel Sanders, can often be found dressed like Santa Claus around Christmas time in Japan, but it's the business that's getting the best gift of all -- money in everyone's pockets around the holiday time. The Japanese market is the third largest for the chain, behind the United States and China. So the next tine you don't show appreciation for your grandma's rotisserie chicken, tell your family about the delicious holiday meal being served across the world.