Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The big day is here. People across the globe celebrate Christmas to commemorate the birth of Jesus, but in many places, they have their own special traditions to turn the event more interesting.

The celebrations fill joy and happiness in everyone’s life. Apart from spreading cheer and happiness, the season also is about varieties of food that is prepared. Cakes, chocolates, wine, alcohol, large meals, fried foods, etc. are a must on the dining table of every family on this joyous occasion. 

But, are you aware how KFC got associated with the Christmas celebrations in Japan and soon became the most followed tradition? You heard that right. 

KFC has replaced the standard traditional cuisine. Isn’t it surprising that even though there are considerably fewer Christians in Japan, how the fest is celebrated with much gusto with KFC? Here’s how KFC became the new tradition and a crucial part of Christmas celebrations.

According to a CNN report, sculptures of KFC founder, Colonel Sanders, as Santa Claus are installed every year at city centres and highways in Japan. This approach has been adopted to greet the residents and visitors in Japan and is in practice since the mid-1980s.

Technically, December 24 is the greatest day for KFC as they sell five to ten times more than they do on other days of the year. 

The roots of Japan are considered the key reason behind this strange tradition. Even though Christmas is not a major holiday in Japan and a national holiday is not observed on the festive day, KFC celebrates it by churning out huge cash.

Commercialisation and globalisation during the 1970s and 1980s is the second factor behind this tradition. While food chains like Mister Donuts, Baskin-Robbins, and The Original Pancake House had a national expansion; Japan’s fast-food business witnessed a growth of 600% at the time.
In the 1970s, the business got established in Japan, which was its first location. At that time, the business sprawled across the nation with 324 stores and continued for 11 years successfully. In 1974, KFC’s popularity during the holiday season soared with its marketing campaign “Kentucky for Christmas.”

The first KFC in Japan was run by Takeshi Okawara. Later, he was appointed the CEO of KFC in Japan.

This apart, there are several other local theories about how KFC got associated with Christmas celebrations, which are not known to many.