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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

KFC Japan holds annual memorial services for its chicken

Japan loves their KFC!

It’s Christmas Eve in Japan. Little boys and girls pull on their coats, the twinkle of anticipation in their eyes. Keeping the tradition alive, they will trek with their families to feast at … the popular American fast food chain KFC.

These days, KFC records its highest sales volume each year on Christmas eve. Back office staff, presidents and execs come out to help move the lines along. Fried chicken and Christmas have become synonymous: KFC’s advertisements feature major pop cultural figures chomping on drumsticks, the company website even has a countdown until Christmas.

But Japan’s love of American fast food does not dim with the Christmas lights once December 25 has come and gone—KFC’s ability to take it’s traditional foods and adapt them to Japanese culture has made a bucket of chicken a meal worth having year round. This April, they opened a three-story restaurant at the south entrance of Shimokitazawa station in Tokyo which offers the company’s first-ever, fully stocked whiskey bar—what their website says gives visitors a taste of “Good ‘ol America.”

When visiting the famous shrines Higashi-Fushimi Inari in Tokyo and Sumiyoshi Taisha in Osaka in June, one might come across a group of soberly-dressed men and women attending what looks exactly like a standard memorial service. It’s only if the adjacent signboard was properly read that anyone could tell this was in fact “Chicken Thanksgiving” (Chicken Kanshasai).

Chicken Thanksgiving is an annual event where the president of KFC Japan as well as other top brass and key people along the supply chain such as meat processors, sales reps, and seasoning producers, gather in honor of chickens.

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