KYOTO — “Look, it’s Santa Claus,” said the excited little boy as he passed in front of Hankyu Department Store here Sunday afternoon. Well, not quite. This is Zenta Claus, the antithesis of jolly St. Nick, who advocates recycling those toys and trinkets he lugged around last Christmas.

For the third straight year, members of a loose coalition of activists and students participated in “Buy Nothing Day” in front of the major department store, passing out leaflets urging shoppers to temper their purchases as the Christmas season gets under way.

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