The One Country Where KFC Is A Traditional Christmas Meal

Kentucky Fried Chicken, better known as KFC, has become a fast food sensation worldwide. As per its website, there are over 100 countries with KFC outlets that offer the restaurant's signature chicken to it customers. The brand was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, who came up with quickly prepared meals for those who needed something satisfying, and fast, while on the run. His fried chicken recipe was a hit among those who tried it, and by 1964 the entrepreneur had gotten so successful that he sold his interest in the company to a bunch of promising investors who took the brand public in 1969, eventually getting corporate giant PepSiCo, Inc. to purchase the brand. 

KFC is now an institution, without a doubt, with outlets in Africa, Asia, North America, The Middle East, Europe, South America, The Caribbean, Oceania, and more. Not only is the brand popular on a daily basis, but one country in Asia has made KFC a Christmas tradition. Here is the full story.

As reported by the BBC, KFC has been hailed as a Christmas tradition in Japan for years. Around 3.6 million families in the country order KFC meals every year, marking the festivities with fried chicken. How did this unusual phenomenon begin?

It's a Christmas special in Japan

It's all a part of a brilliant marketing move, first created by Takeshi Okawara, who managed the first KFC outlet in Japan. In 1970, Okawara came up with a simple idea that involved selling a "party barrel" to expats who were homesick during Christmas and missed feasting on traditional meals. As far as Okawara was concerned, a freshly prepared fried chicken meal could help people celebrate Christmas.

It worked. By 1954, KFC promoted the plan all over Japan, labeling it Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii ("Kentucky for Christmas"). As per Joonas Rokka, a marketing professor at Emlyon Business School, France, the idea was well received almost instantly. "It filled a void," Rokka told the BBC. "There was no tradition of Christmas in Japan, and so KFC came in and said, this is what you should do on Christmas."

The Christmas special meals have evolved and offer fried chicken, cake, and wine. The founder and symbol of KFC, Colonel Sanders, shows up every year on billboards as Santa Claus. A holiday special indeed. As a Reddit user explained, "I live in Japan and can confirm this is a thing. Even the local convenience stores sell fried chicken and you need to reserve it on those days."