How Halloween Is Treated In Japan

Tokyo Culture Halloween 2019.09.19
Halloween, one of the big annual events is coming up! Countries around the world have similar events throughout the year but in Japan, people celebrate two different events in two different ways. Let's take a look at how Japanese people celebrate Halloween.

What does Halloween mean to the Japanese people?

Over the past few years, Halloween has grown big in Japan but in a different way to its original meaning.

Many of the Japanese shopping brands as well as restaurants and cafes, hotels etc, prepare their Halloween decoration, products and menu in advance, somewhere around August.
So how is everything exactly working? What does Halloween mean to Japanese people?
  • Before we get on with the topic.
    Before we get on with the topic.
    As some of you may know, in Japan there’s this culture of cosplay.
    People around their twenties are the most common participants in these kinds of events and they are held at a personal level to a larger community level.
    There are even annual events held across Japan and those are the big ones like the ones below.
    - Tokyo Game Show: Event where 250,000 people attend each year in September.
    - Comic Market Summer/ Winter: The Cosplay event in Tokyo! Held twice a year. Next held during Dec 28 - 31.
    - Anime Japan: Held by AnimeJapan around March every year since 2014.
    - Kyoto International Manga, Anime Fair: Famous cosplay event in Kyoto held around September every year.
    - World Cosplay Summit: also known as the KosuSami【コスサミ】(Cosplay Summit shortened in Japanese), is a cosplay event that goes on for a few days.
    - Tokyo Comicon: Cosplay event in November.
    (See official websites for each in the links above)

    So, what has all this got to do with Halloween?
  • Halloween in Japan (especially in Tokyo) is considered as a huge cosplay event.
    If you go to Shinjuku on the day at night, you will find all people strolling around the city with their different costumes.
    Shops and restaurants will also have their decorations. Like this one above called the Kawaii Monster in Harajuku.
  • Even local supermarkets have a special section dedicated to Halloween related items.
    During the season, shops and restaurants sell a lot of pumpkin or chestnut flavoured menus, like pumpkin flavoured chocolate, biscuits, drinks like pumpkin spiced late and chestnut flavoured drinks and more.
  • This is what it looks like in Shibuya on the day!
    This is what it looks like in Shibuya on the day!
    Some news reported over a million people that attended the event.
    Surely there's going to be about that many people this year as well...

    If you curious, head out to Shibuya on the day!
    Just make sure you don't get lost in the crowd. There are just so many people.

    If you are looking for an event more like the original Halloween in Japan, Obon would be the one.
    Obon is a quieter event where people welcome back the spirits of their ancestors to their home.
    It is held in July or August depending on which region you belong to. The reason why they differ is because some follow the lunar calendar and some use the current calendar.

    The even is also famous for Bon Odori.

    Which is your preference?  The more traditional or the more recent?

    Both have good aspects and are enjoyable in different ways.
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