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More Than Three Million Japanese Families Will Eat KFC On Christmas Eve

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More Than Three Million Japanese Families Will Eat KFC On Christmas Eve

For most of us here in the UK, the traditional turkey dinner is hands down the main star at Christmas, spending hours roasting to perfection in the oven. But for those celebrating Christmas in Japan, festive traditions are totally different.

Ever since KFC launched its 'Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii!' campaign (which translates as 'Kentucky for Christmas!') back in 1974, Japanese folk have been going crazy for the Colonel's special recipe, with more than three million families flocking to the fast food chain on Christmas Eve to tuck into their crispy chicken.

Credit: KFC Japan
Credit: KFC Japan

From buckets to burger meals, the festive menu brings in the crowds to KFC stores across Japan.

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Store manager Takeshi Okawara, who managed the first KFC franchise in Japan, started the tradition when he was asked to get involved with a Christmas party at a school and food from the restaurant was served.

The holiday was not widely observed in the country at the time, but Okawara threw himself into proceedings and dressed up as Santa for the event.

Credit: KFC Japan
Credit: KFC Japan
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It was such a success that another kindergarten class asked for a KFC-themed Christmas party and soon enough, stores in Japan began to market fried chicken as a commonplace Western tradition - claiming to national broadcaster NHK that it was often used as an alternative to the festive turkey.

A bit of a fib, perhaps, but a new tradition was born. As Okawara told Business Insider: "I... know that the people are not eating chicken, they are eating turkey. But I said yes.

"It was [a] lie, I still regret that. But people... like it."

Credit: KFC Japan
Credit: KFC Japan
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Slowly but surely, an entire nation was convinced that going to KFC was a Christmas tradition. Every year, KFC stores in Japan expect queues in their thousands as chicken lovers across the country flock to the fast food restaurants to get their herbs and spices fix for Christmas. It's just that finger lickin' good.

But it doesn't come cheap - you'll have to fork out between ¥2,000 (£14) to ¥8,000 (£56) for one of the 'Christmas packs' the chicken giant sells in Japan every year.

Words: Niamh Spence

Featured Image Credit: KFC Japan

Topics: Christmas, World News, Interesting, Japan

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