Since there are few Christians in the country, Japanese are mostly Shinto or Buddhist, few of the religious connotations associated with Christmas were brought over from the West, they’ve adopted Christmas in their own way.
For a finger-lickin’ good Christmas Eve, the Japanese eat KFC. An estimated 3.6 million Japanese families tuck into KFC every Christmas, but these aren’t ordinary bargain buckets. The Japanese KFC Christmas buckets are delicious dinners with whole-roasted chicken, sides, cake and wine. This somewhat bizarre tradition is born from the fact that in Japan, turkeys are hard to find and ovens are very small. However, chickens are a good substitute. A savvy marketing manager of KFC in Japan realized this and came up with the concept in the 1970’s of ‘Kentucky for Christmas’, and it took off.
In Japan at Christmas, you’ll also notice that many bakeries have beautiful Christmas cakes. These cakes are traditionally Japanese-style strawberry shortcakes. Japanese-style shortcakes are less sweet, topped with light whipped cream and strawberries. The cake represents Japan’s rise from the ruins of World War II and its prosperity. The red of the strawberries and white of the cream are the same colors as the Japanese flag.