When I first arrived in Japan in 2001, Halloween was practically unheard of. The only Halloween events to speak of were bacchanalian parties held by foreigners, many inebriated past the point of public decency. The noise, the mess, and the unruly revelry became so bad, in fact, that it notoriously became a criminal offence to wear Halloween costumes while riding the JR Yamanote Line (I hope this has since been rescinded).
Fortunately, things have drastically changed and, over the past decade, something wonderful has happened: bigger cities in Japan have come to embrace Halloween and – as the Japanese do so uniquely and incredibly well – adapt the holiday to fit in with the Japanese culture.
What that mostly means is while children in the west celebrate Halloween by trick-or-treating at the end of October; in Japan, starting as early as September (and lasting until November), it is the adults who partake in most of the fun by showing off in over-the-top spectacular make-up, effects, cosplay and costumes. There are parades and parties galore wherever you go, and stores are filled with Halloween treats and unworldly edibles – think Halloween-themed ice creams, cakes, parfaits, pastries, even fast food!
Halloween in Japan has become an incredibly profitable season for many business sectors (food, entertainment, television and media, theme parks, etc.), and so will certainly only continue to grow in popularity and promotion.
Please click here to read the full article, containing a complete list of things to do during Japan’s Halloween season. The list is filled with links, photographs, and even a video!
*Article by Ree Leeve, originally published on Deep Japan
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