These days, having chicken for Christmas dinner is quite commonplace in Japan, whether it’s made at home or carried there in a paper bucket. But chicken doesn’t have that long a history as an everyday food source.

Until the Meiji Era (1868-1912), when Western poultry farming methods were introduced, chickens, especially roosters, were primarily fighting birds or ornamental pets, although shamo- nabe, a hot pot made with the fighting shamo chicken, was enjoyed.

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