KFC Japan's New Year box

TOKYO —

To many Westerners, the Japanese tradition of eating Kentucky Fried Chicken at Christmas is baffling. But thanks to a successful marketing campaign in the 1970s, Japan now associates Christmas with KFC so strongly that there are huge queues outside the nation’s KFC shops on Christmas Eve. Personally, I’ve met quite a few Japanese people who were under the assumption that KFC is eaten in the West as well on Christmas, so it’s safe to say that KFC has completely dominated this particular festive event in Japan.

But, not content with that, KFC Japan is now rolling out a special box to compete with the Japanese traditional New Year’s food known as “osechi.” “Osechi” usually consists of layered boxes known as “jubako” full of special foods with meanings which represent good luck for the New Year. Since everything shuts down in Japan for New Year, “osechi” are also designed to last for several days, meaning that there’s no need to do any cooking during this period of time which in Japan is meant for family.

KFC Japan’s special “jubako” comes in three versions: Bamboo, Pine, and Plum, mimicking the naming convention used for traditional “jubako” and Japanese meal sets.

The Plum version costs 2,000 yen and includes: four pieces of original chicken, one crispy shrimp fry, one “crispy”, one biscuit, five nuggets and one large order of potato fries. The Bamboo version costs 2,500 yen and includes: six pieces of original chicken, two crispy shrimp fries, one “crispy”, one biscuit, five nuggets and one large order of potato fries. The Pine version costs 3,000 yen and includes: eight pieces of original chicken, three crispy shrimp fries, one “crispy”, one biscuit, five nuggets and one large order of potato fries.

The tasty fried chicken treat boxes have divided Japanese net users. Some pointed out that while traditional “jubako” are part of New Year culture, a lot of people find the “osechi” food contained in them to be not so tasty. Children also are famous for turning their noses up at the selection of pickled, stewed and boiled foods that make up “osechi.” However, those more health-conscious commenters pointed out that it’s a lot of mostly similar fried chicken pieces on offer in KFC’s boxes with little in the way of variety or vegetables. “It’s all beige!” writes one, with another commenting: “So much grease!”

While KFC Japan managed to successfully slide its way into an unoccupied niche in the market with Christmas, (which wasn’t traditionally celebrated in largely non-Christian Japan), the same probably can’t be said for New Year’s, which is Japan’s biggest event of the year and full of its own culinary traditions.

Source: KFC Japan via Livedoor/Kinisoku

Read more stories from RocketNews24.
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  • 0

    Nippori Nick

    Will not be ordering one.

  • -1

    mukashiyokatta

    Rejected.

  • 2

    Raymond Chuang

    @Nippori Nick, while I understand you sentiment, the Japanese have taken to KFC in such a big way that they would take to something like this, especially given the eye-opening cost of a decent osechi-ryori box set nowadays.

  • 0

    turbotsat

    Popeye's is better.

  • 1

    Mike Breitenstein

    It's said that the average price of an Osechi is about 20,000¥ (~$200), so this makes for a reasonable option, even though it's not a healthy one. We had our KFC on Christmas Eve, and I can say that it's not quite as greasy here (in Hiroshima) as it is in the states... But of course that varies store to store. It's nearly impossible to find turkey, or even a whole chicken to cook for yourself (you'd have to buy it precut), and most homes don't have an oven like we do in the states (besides the microwave oven). So for those that want to eat bird as a tradition, the options are limited.

  • 0

    Himajin

    It's nearly impossible to find turkey, or even a whole chicken to cook for yoursel

    Unless you have a Costco near you. They sell whole chickens year round, and turkeys in December.

  • 0

    cleo

    It's nearly impossible to find turkey

    Wen I was a meat-eater I always ordered a turkey from the local butcher or through the supermarket. I find it hard to imagine it's harder to get hold of one these days than it was 20 years ago. Ask, and ye shall be allowed to order.

    Not that I'm encouraging anyone to go eating birds.

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