It is an oft-peddled tidbit in Japan that a KFC dinner set is a fully acceptable substitution for a traditional Western meal on Christmas Eve.
It’s true that in 1970 family-size “barrels” of Kentucky Fried Chicken were promoted at the brand’s original shop in Nagoya to serve in lieu of a turkey-centric holiday spread. It’s also true that an ad campaign launched in 1974 promoted this as “Kentucky Christmas.”
Sales at KFC around the festive season in Japan account for upwards of ¥7 billion (around $50 to $60 million). In fact, KFC is such a facet of modern culture in Japan that Colonel Sanders himself has reached divine status. During a baseball-related frenzy, Hanshin Tigers fans vindicated by a 1985 win in the Japan Series threw a statue of the Colonel into Osaka’s Dotonbori Canal. A subsequent “curse of the Colonel” inflicted upon the Hanshin Tigers an 18-year losing streak.