A Very Merry Fried Chicken Christmas

By Atsuka Fukaya

You may have found the title of this article quite puzzling, which is no surprise. In how many countries would you find a combination of the words Christmas and fried chicken? ‘Surely, you mean turkey?’ is something you might be thinking. Well, I am afraid that I don’t mean that, because I am talking about Christmas in Japan.

While in a great number of countries people will wake up on the 25th of December with the prospect of no work, presents and a traditional Christmas dinner, in Japan we will wake up as normal and go to work. The train station will be open, trains will run as scheduled, on the streets all of the shops and restaurants will be open. It is exactly the same as every other day. When we arrive at work we greet each other as normal and work just as we always do.

Although we are aware of Christmas celebrations in other countries, well that is for other countries. From around the 26-29 of December Japanese companies will close, so actually we have to work hard to finish off all of our tasks before the holidays begin. Many people return to their hometowns so that they can be with their family on New Year’s Eve.

So, we work as normal and finish work as normal. However, in the evenings around this time of year between 24-25 of December we do something slightly different. Everyone will at least on one occasion eat fried chicken! The most popular option is to get a family bucket from KFC, and tuck in. Most people will eat with their family, partner, or will just eat with friends and work colleagues. It may sound strange but you actually have to book this family bucket, the booking system on KFC opens around the end of October until 19th of December, and then it can be delivered between 20th and 25th of December.

For this reason you could say a Merry Fried Chicken Christmas!

It is hard to imagine having to book a KFC meal weeks, or even months in advance, in other countries, but this is Japan, and this is what we eat. It can cost up to 4,000 yen, and you can even order a whole roast chicken for nearly 6,000 yen.

It’s difficult to explain how eating fried chicken at Christmas has become so ingrained in the Japanese mind. In the 1970s KFC spotted a gap in the market, people were becoming interested in Christmas and were aware of roast dinner on Christmas Day, but there was no real tradition to eat a specific kind of food on this day. Seizing the opportunity KFC started advertising that Christmas Day was the day to eat fried chicken. They succeeded and now it is just something that we don’t think about.

It is Christmas, so it is time to eat some delicious chicken.