Japan: Why is Halloween not popular in Japan?

id:nakakzs writes about the lack of interest in Halloween among Japanese people [ja] compared to other imported holidays such as Christmas and Valentine's Day, noting that many people only know that Halloween takes place “sometime in autumn”. id:nakakzs traces the lack of popularity to a number of factors: bad timing (right after late summer festivals), the use of pumpkins as decoration is seen as a waste, resemblance to the Bon Festival which evokes the image of “death”, and a lack of a culture of door-to-door canvasing.


  • Give it a few years! Part of the reason people dont do Halloween is because no one has been trying very hard until a few years ago, when Tokyo Disneyland began pushing it as a seasonal promotion. Now around my station there is Halloween EVERYTHING, almost as bad as the Xmas decorations.

    Also according to Wiki, Xmas has been around in Japan since the Taisho period, while it took until the 1980s or so before people started adopting it at all in Japan.

  • Good points. I personally actually like Halloween better than Christmas anyway, I think it encourages a kind of community spirit: in going door-to-door you get to actually *meet* your neighbors, which I feel is an experience that is lacking in major Japanese cities like Tokyo (although not in the country, which is totally different).

  • While I applaud the retailers and advertisers doing their best to get the word out on Halloween, and I’ll gladly take my special pumpkin-themed school lunch tomorrow, Halloween won’t take off in Japan until there are children who grow up enjoying all the holiday has to offer. That means costumes, trick-or-treating and lots of candy. Then those kids will grow up loving the holiday, eager to raise their kids to celebrate it, and so on.

    I think Japan is down with costumes, but will they ever embrace going door-to-door and asking people for treats?

  • cant


  • klimmer

    Is it popular anywhere else outside of the US?
    I don’t recall anyone else celebrating Halloween.

  • oniratea

    Yeah, it’s just not in the Japanese culture I guess… I mean, culturally speaking, there’s no point in celebrating it. there’s obon anyways.

    as cant suggests – a bit rudely though -, foreigners going crazy for halloween is not welcomed in this atmosphere.

  • […] Source: Global Voices […]

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