While Japan obviously has its own set of holidays and festivals (some weirder than others), it’s adopted a lot of foreign holidays too. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Japan, and Christmas is widely celebrated, even though only a tiny percentage of the population is actually Christian.
But what about Halloween?
How Does Japan Celebrate Halloween?
Tofugu is based out of the US, where Halloween is huge. Halloween is celebrated by children who want free candy, adults who want to get drunk off their asses, and everybody in-between.
Japan didn’t really recognize Halloween for years and years. It’s really only been within the last decade that the Japanese have started to celebrate Halloween and man, it’s taken off.
Halloween in Japan still isn’t like Halloween in the US. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that you can go trick-or-treating in pretty much neighborhood in America, and even if you don’t get any candy, people understand what you’re doing. Not so much in Japan.
But if there’s one thing that the Japanese have gotten right about Halloween, it’s the merchandising. Nowadays, you’ll see everything from seasonal Kit-Kats to doughnuts to Burger King Japan’s pumpkin burger (which actually sounds pretty good). If you want to sell something, just slap a jack-o’-lantern on that bad boy and you’re good to go.
One Japanese company even held a “Halloween Festa” engagement ring sale last year. After all, what’s more romantic than Halloween?
It’s not all commercial, though. In major Japanese cities like Kobe and Tokyo, people (and sometimes pets) dress up in costumes and take part in Halloween parades and walks.
Thousands of people march in these parades, everybody from li’l youngsters still clutching their parent’s hands to older people who just want to dress up in costume.
We figured since Halloween is more relevant in Japan than ever, it’d be fun to have a whole week of Halloween posts!
So in the week leading up to Halloween, we’ll have posts hungry ghosts, horror manga, and an interview with a couple who knows all about Japanese ghosts and ghouls.