Philippine Department of Agriculture – Tokyo
Online survey shows chicken remains top Christmas meal in Japan

Online survey shows chicken remains top Christmas meal in Japan

TOKYO- Over 80 percent of respondents to a recent online survey by a Japanese shopping information site operator said they plan to celebrate Christmas by eating chicken, with most preferring to buy takeout rather than cook themselves.

The survey conducted by Locoguide Inc., which collected responses from 2,628 users of its Tokubai site between Nov. 25 and Nov. 30, found that fried was the most popular way to enjoy the meat at 33.3 percent, followed closely by roast at 32 percent, and Japanese-style deep-fried “karaage” at 22.8 percent.

Since launching its first Christmas campaign in Japan in 1974, Kentucky Fried Chicken has successfully managed to make having fried chicken for Christmas a national tradition that lives on to this day.

With Dec. 24 being KFC Japan Ltd.’s busiest day of the year — 10 times busier than its annual average — the fast food restaurant starts advertising and taking orders as early as two months before Christmas, according to its operator.

Other famous chicken vendors that have cropped up over the years now also cash in on the Japanese yuletide tradition, including Family Mart, whose boneless Famichiki gives KFC a run for its money.

In true holiday spirit, the major convenience store chain will wait until a day after Christmas to hike prices on some of its hot-food products, letting fried chicken lovers enjoy its signature item for 198 yen ($1.50) on Christmas Day one last time.

Even Korean fried chicken chains are catching on, with bb.q Olive Chicken Cafe, which rose to fame after being featured in numerous K-dramas, also offering special Christmas packages in the week leading up to the festive holiday.

But despite the abundance of fried poultry, outlets selling whole rotisserie chickens in Japan are far more scarce. That is perhaps the reason why only 7.5 percent of respondents said they planned to enjoy the traditional way it is eaten in the West for Christmas.

The survey also found that 86.2 percent of people plan to spend Christmas at home, with nearly 60 percent of that number planning to eat takeaways. Chicken dominated preferred takeout items, selected by 81.4 percent, followed by pizza at 33 percent and sushi at 31.7 percent.

Among the 37.9 percent saying they would prepare their own Christmas meal, chicken ranked third on the menu at 29.4 percent, behind green salad and potato salad at 41.2 percent and 35.2 percent, respectively.

As for dessert, 72.4 percent said they would eat “Christmas cake,” which in Japan is not spiced fruitcake, but usually a spongy strawberry shortcake covered with whipped cream, with 11.3 percent planning to bake it themselves.

Dec 24, 2022 | KYODO NEWS