Do You Have Your Xmas Chicken?

Of all the new “Christmas stories” I’ve heard this year, none yet rivals the tale of KFC’s appropriation of Christmas in Japan, as told by Molly Osberg at TPM. A sample:

This month, KFC Japan will bring in revenue up to ten times greater than what it earns during other months of the year. Life-size Colonel Sanders statues—a staple in the country—will be dressed in red attire and Santa hats. On Christmas eve, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s lines will snake down the block, and those unlucky enough not to pre-order their special chicken buckets a month in advance may have to go without KFC’s signature blend of 11 herbs and spices.

And not having KFC on Christmas in Japan is a real bummer. In what appears to be one of the most successful fast food marketing campaigns of all time, KFC has for more than thirty years maintained a uniquely on-brand alternate history in Japan, one that makes fried chicken ubiquitous on the day of Jesus’ birth.

Wow. And I thought the chicken-with-chutney wraps I enjoyed at KFCs in South Africa a few years ago were exotic.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.