Japan - Fact Check

Merry Christmas! Have some KFC

Photo by KFC Japan

Japan - Fact Check Merry Christmas! Have some KFC

It's that most magical time of the year. If you're reading this before Christmas dinner then (like me) enjoy this one with some breakfast champagne. And try not to work up too large of an appetite.

Chris Woolfrey
Chris Woolfrey

It all started in 1970, so they say.

When the first KFC opened in Japan, its manager reportedly overheard some expats waxing wistfully about the turkey they missed every Christmas Day; the manager thought he could try offering fried chicken as a makeshift alternative.

Clearly,  it was a success, because four years later KFC went national with this slogan: クリスマスはケンタッキー.

'Kentucky for Christmas' took off straight away: with no discernible Christmas tradition in Japan, KFC moved in and, according to the executive director of Ogilvy and Mather Japan, won people's bellies with its straightforward, relentless message.

"One of the reasons the campaign lasted so long is that the message is always the same", says Yasuyuki Katagiat. "At Christmas, you eat chicken."

And eat chicken they do. Just over three-and-a-half million people across Japan will eat a special KFC Christmas meal today, most of whom have pre-ordered to avoid disappointment. There will even be cake.

So while you're sitting down to some turkey, goose or nut roast, consider that a trip to Japan in 2018 - specifically for Christmas - is one of the best New Year's resolutions you can make.


For the inside track on Japan, read through TRVL's Japan country, city and neighborhood guides

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