Walking around the shops the other day, I saw that Christmas goods are already for sale - in mid-October, in a country that doesn’t even celebrate Christmas (they celebrate Kentucky Fried Chicken instead).
It’s not really a surprise to see the biggest commercial festival of the year starting well before the event itself, but I am surprised to see all the Christmas cards…
With a tradition of New Year’s post cards (nengajou), sending greetings cards like we do back home isn’t common practice in Japan. That’s not to say they don’t exist, but they’ve usually been limited in number and lacking in creativity. This year however, I’ve seen a whole new approach to Christmas cards in Japan. Instead of just a Santa Claus or a Christmas tree on the front, the Japanese-style (wa-fuu) Christmas card blends the bright red colour of Santa’s bottoms with traditional Japan.
You’ve got a bout of sumo, watched by hundreds of little Santas, then there’s Santa and his reindeer flying over Kyoto’s Kiyomizu temple, and more red-coated, bearded people enjoying Christmas at the Golden Pavillion (Kinkakuji). These little red gift-givers also pop up in pop-up cards! And those are just the Christmas cards I bought, just a small sample of the many Japanese-style Christmas cards available.
Update: It looks like the company responsible for these “mini-Santa” cards is Greeting Life, Inc.