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Halloween is now the second most popular “imported” festive season in Japan after Christmas. Why do you think it has exploded in popularity in recent years?

34 Comments

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Disney

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Cos Play

7 ( +7 / -0 )

THE INTERNET! Duh?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I think it has more to do with the availability of cheap Halloween imports, such as costumes and candies. I remember how very difficult it used to be to find these things, now they're everywhere.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Probably it's related to cosplay. I really dislike Halloween. Recently it gained some popularity also in Italy, but I'm not able to get used to it, because we already have our own folklore (All Saints' Day), and we pay respect to our dead praying for them and bringing flowers to their graves.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Halloween is pure, unabashed fun! It lacks the pressure of the holiday season; the sense of duty that comes with gift giving, the sense of drudgery that comes with having to host and entertain family and the economic pressure of paying for it all. If you have 500 yen and a playful heart you can have enjoy Halloween!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Many people have recently realized that Halloween is not just for kids and can be fun for everyone. It takes Japan a while to catch on to certain things from the West. I have been attending adult Halloween parties since the early 80's which had prizes for best costume, Halloween-themed food, music, etc. When I got here, very few seemed interested and it was hard to find a party so I just attended parties on military bases. A few years back, I noticed that had all changed. There are parties everywhere and many people wear their costumes even in public. My new costume arrived yesterday. It's going to be fun groovy ghouling this weekend and next! Happy Halloween!!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Sexy" (for which read slutty) outfits for girls and spooky (for which read ridiculous) outfits for boys. fits right into Japanese likes.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I always ask people: What is Halloween all about and why is it promoted in Japan? The most common answer = Blank face. The real answer (for Japan) = marketing gimmick.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Why? Because there's oodles of cash to be made. Next on the list is Easter.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I don't see the need for sneers here. Halloween is a good chance for people to make a few quid and for people to enjoy themselves. Great.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

perfect reason for the industry to sell their stuff... just dress anything in a halloween costum and make it look cute.

cash needs to flow... all the chinese stuff needs to be sold...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Lovely little racy witches and devils and other horror movie fantasy garb. what's not to like?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Did you mention Ersa and Anna?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's been growing steadily, I wouldn't say it's "exploded" in popularity. I would think it expands just like any other social meme does. Once it reaches a certain "tipping point" then everybody's on board.

Nothing to do with Japanese or Halloween. Just a slowly growing trend that is now "mainstream."

Don't over think this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Simple answer....elementary school English edutainment.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's all about making money. The confectioners and retailers rack up the sales during christmas, valentines, and white day. They market it as much as they can and now it's popular. I always wonder what they do with all the candy that is not sold as I rarely see it go on sale.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think Halloween is more wholesome than Christmas, Valentines or White Day. At least Halloween symbolizes non-Christian beliefs which are hard to come by these days.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

20+yrs ago when I arrived Halloween was totally absent, now its a full blown store displaying sales pitch LOL! And yet I have heard precious few cases of good ole trick or treating going on! That was great when I was a kid, good memories, here is a little too money oriented

And I also am surprised Japan hasn't made hay with Easter LOL! Perhaps that is next on the list, I mean chocolate chocolate & more chocolate, cute bunnies, eggs the marketing guru's in Japan aren't paying attention LOL!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Pity it's not the traditional British Hallowe'en but the Americanised version. Can't have everything I suppose. I think they like this version of Hallowe'en because of the dressing up element rather than the ghost stories and dunking for apples.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Pity it's not the traditional British Hallowe'en but the Americanised version. Can't have everything I suppose. I think they like this version of Hallowe'en because of the dressing up element rather than the ghost stories and dunking for apples.

How is it a pity? Cultures change and evolve, nothing wrong with that. And yes, we do the ghost stories and dunk for apples as well. Hey, we even make a badass apple-coated caramel treat! Gotta try it! There is something positive in all of this.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

... In Tokyo maybe. Here in Ehime I hardly think Halloween is bigger than Valentines day (unless perhaps they mean to say v day isnt festive?)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Because many people are like sheep?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It's spread was slow, but came about in large part due to parties being held by native English speakers in language schools and in public schools via the JET programme. Those kids, when it really started to pick up, are now in their thirties or late twenties and in many cases have their own kids whom they like to get involved in such events. My community and a few neighbouring Jichikais band together to have a treat-or-treat event even with the kids and used to consult with me and others on how to do it, how they should decorate their houses, etc., and it is now a regular event where we don't have to lay a finger. I get asked to appear as a guest (ghost) at elementary schools every now and again to do a Hallowe'en party or something but I mostly refuse and refer them to someone else -- getting too old for it, though I love to see the kids have fun.

PS. I would have thought the most popular imported festival after Christmas is Tanabata.

-1 ( +3 / -3 )

I have met many Japanese people who believe that Valentine's Day originated in Japan. In a few years they'll be saying the same thing about Halloween.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@Smith: Good point, I think what this quote means is "imported from the west" and not China/etc? I was surprised to learn that even one of the big holidays, Obon, is based on Buddhist events from India/China.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At least Halloween symbolizes non-Christian beliefs which are hard to come by these days. maybe Japan can make a holiday based on the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. then everbody can fast for a month. hold on that may not generate much profit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think my Halloween themed quiz at the eikaiwa school a few years back may have played a big role.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In reality what difference does it make? Japan being a secular society has adopted many cultural things from other countries and made them their "own".

I for one am glad that they choose to "import" some of the entertaining things rather than "violent" ones.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I wonder if it wasn't the dentists who "introduced" it ? With al that candy, they'll have their work cut out !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think Disney is one of the main reasons. When I first came 21 years ago, it was written in my contract that we had to have a Halloween party. It was so difficult to do, since nobody knew what it was and getting costumes was so difficult.. But about 10 years ago, Disney started doing a Halloween parade and they started selling goods,and here we are a few years later, and it has taken off like a bat out of hell, pun intended. My only complaint, and I'm going to sound like a grumpy old man, but I hate it when towns decided they are going to celebrate Halloween when they want to. There was a place not far from here that had their big Halloween event on September 28th! By doing so, they rush the season, and the decorations, and people get tired of it very quickly. By the way, take about rushing the season, our local Ito Yokado already has their Christmas tree up!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pity it's not the traditional British Hallowe'en but the Americanised version.

Not sure what you are talking about. Halloween in the UK is the Americanised version. Halloween was virtually unknown in the UK until a few decades ago. Yes, it did originate in pagan festivals from the British Isles, but that was a long time ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's a combination of reasons (as noted by others here), but it may also have something to do with individual expression.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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