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Halloween in Japan

Updated: Feb 11, 2019


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こんにちは, Japanese LearnerWelcome back to Teach Me Japanese.


Today we are going to be taking a look at what Halloween is like Japan, and how

Japanese people celebrate the widely loved holiday.


Let's go! (๑→ܫ←)


Though now widely celebrated, Halloween is actually not an official Holiday in Japan.

In fact, it didn’t even exist in Japan until around the early 2000’s. In 2000, popular

theme park Tokyo Disney decided to take after it’s western counterparts and promoted

a Halloween event in order to bring in more visitors for the chilly season. Universal

and other smaller theme parks soon followed suit and the concept of Halloween had

officially wedged itself into Japan.


Since then, it seems to have slowly grown into what is it today. Stores in Japan caught

on to the trend and started manufacturing spooky decorations and costumes for the

season and before you knew it, Halloween was celebrated by more than just foreigners.


Today, Halloween is, for some, an excuse to dress up and party, and for others, an

excuse to overload on sweet snacks and cute, spooky decorations. But no matter how

it’s celebrated, it’s apparent Halloween has made itself a permanent staple in Japanese culture.




Decorating is one of the biggest aspects of Halloween in Japan. Many Japanese

families look forward to decorating the insides of their house for the holidays, and

many businesses also join in on the fun Halloween goods can be seen going on

sale as soon as August at places like DAISO, where almost everything costs 100

yen.


Pictured is the entrance to my mother-in-law’s house. Below you can see that she

even went all out decorating the toilet!



While you’ll often see decorated insides of houses and businesses, it's pretty rare

that you’ll see any decoration on the outside of a property. In this way, you could

say that Japanese Halloween decorating customs are opposite of those we see in

America.



While cosplay is often associated heavily with Japanese culture, it’s rare to actually

see people in cosplay outside of Tokyo’s Akihabara streets. When it comes to

Halloween however, there are often events and parties that require you to dress up

in costumes.


If you are planning to visit Japan during Halloween and were wondering whether you

should leave the costume at home, don’t worry. You’ll surely find a place to wear it

while you’re here.




Trick or treating is one big tradition that is not observed in Japan. It remains to be

seen why this is, but you won’t see Japanese little ones roaming the streets in

search of candy on Halloween night.


There are however some references to trick or treating in popular culture, such as

the use of the words “Trick or Treat” on Halloween goods or in popular game apps

such as Disney Tsum Tsum.





From around early August, grocery stores in Japan have massive displays featuring

all types of Halloween goodies. Most of these goodies aren’t quite what you expect

though.


While American stores have mixes of Snickers and Skittles and all those sugar filled yummies flying off of the shelves, most of Japan’s Halloween “snacks” come in the

form of cookies or some obscure off-brand candy.


Restaurants such as Dominos and Starbucks take part in the hype too, offering limited edition items and specials just for Halloween. So if you want to order in on Halloween

night and watch some spooky movies, Japan is the place to do just that.



This huge party in Tokyo is one of the main reasons that tourists choose to come to

Japan during Halloween. Thousands of people don costumes and flock to Shibuya

for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but if you don’t like crowds, this might not be the

party for you.


Many universities and communities also hold get-togethers where people can dress

up and eat yummy food, and some families also celebrate privately in their decorated homes.


Another cool part of being in Japan during Halloween season are the special Halloween events that take place at Tokyo Disney and Japan’s Universal Studios. Dress up and

go have some fun!



 

Thanks for hanging out with us again for another cultural lesson on Japan! In honor

of Halloween, we will also have a new Halloween themed Vocab list up for you guys

on Wednesday ( :


If you have any questions or requests for future lessons, leave them below or check

out our contact page to shoot us an email. Also don’t forget to like us on facebook

so you can be notified every time we post!


As always, がんばってね!



Lauren



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