The True Meaning of KFC Christmas

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Much has been written about Japan’s predilection for Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas, but most of it fails to understand just what it is that a cardboard bucket of fried chicken on Christmas exemplifies — KFC, as a Westernized holiday ideal, has come to represent a culturally aligned yearning for a no-questions-asked familial harmony.

Precisely how that happened is opaque. On the website of the Mitsubishi Corporation, which first brought KFC to Japan in 1970 for the Osaka World Expo, it’s noted that by 1974 the Christmas Party Barrel was widely promoted, thus “beginning the uniquely Japanese lifestyle of eating KFC on Christmas.” In some articles, former KFC Japan CEO Takeshi Okawara says that the idea of Kentucky for Christmas came to him in a dream. In others, KFC for Christmas is proffered as the closest substitute to turkey for lonely expats.

Read the full article here

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