Japanese Christmas and Merry Christmas in Japanese

How many people are curious about japanese christmas or how to say happy christmas in japanese, I decided to do a little research on this subject and write the best possible article on this aspect of oriental customs.

The most curious thing for Westerners is the fact that Japanese Christmas is not a traditional celebration.

In fact, Christmas in Japan is not even considered a holiday, but a working day like any other.

Besides that fact, there are many other interesting things about Japanese Christmas in this article.

japanese christmas

How did Japanese Christmas come about?

There are rumors that Japanese Christmas originated during World War II and was imported by Westerners who migrated or lived in Japan during that time.

As Christmas has very commercial practices, such as exchanging gifts, buying ornaments, Christmas trees, parties and get-togethers, Japanese commerce soon realized the great opportunity that had appeared.

Therefore, during the approach of Christmas in Japan, the stores are packed with everything related to Christmas, in addition to being decorated and lit according to the occasion.

Apparently, the custom of preparing Christmas decorations has become so passionate for Japanese Christmas that it is possible to find luminous decorations in the streets of several cities.

The Religious Factor of Japanese Christmas

As most of the Japanese population is Buddhist or Shinto, the Japanese Christmas has no religious meaning, being just a date for socializing between family members, lovers, friends and so on.

So, to imagine that the Japanese celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas is a complete mistake.

Interestingly, the Japanese emperor's birthday is celebrated on December 23rd.

And because it is the Emperor's birthday, this date is considered a national holiday.

A pretty interesting coincidence, don't you think? As the only holiday close to Christmas is the Emperor's birthday, the 24th and 25th and December are working days like any other.

The Meaning of Christmas for Japanese

During the 1980s, Japanese Christmas came to be associated with a party for lovers.

Thus, Christmas was celebrated by oriental lovers in a completely luxurious way, with dinner in expensive restaurants, exchange of gifts, spending the night in a high-end hotel and plenty of champagne to accompany the party.

The purpose of so much was simply to impress one's partner, even if it cost the poor guy the equivalent of a month's worth of work.

Currently, with the crisis and other factors added, things have changed a little. Christmas has now become synonymous with family celebration and socializing among friends.

Thus, the Japanese Christmas came to be characterized by several residential parties, where a few people gather to exchange gifts, play karaoke and have a little fun.

In parties like this, the Christmas decoration is made by the party's participants or by the owners of the house, transforming it into a simpler and more informal party, but without failing to demonstrate the affection and dedication to everyday companions.

what to eat for japanese christmas

Unlike Westerners, who celebrate Christmas by eating turkey, panettone, fruit and lots of wine, the Japanese Christmas dinner is characterized by a beautiful, crispy and seasoned roasted chicken.

Although roasted (or fried) chicken is a very popular dish for Japanese Christmas, the クリスマス (Christmas cakes) are gaining a lot of space on the tables of our oriental friends.

Japanese Christmas cake is usually made with sponge, strawberries, sour cream and sugar garnishes.

And what about Santa Claus?

Santa Claus in Japanese can be called either サンタさん how much of サンタクロース. Also, many Japanese children say they believe in the existence of Santa Claus, even if he doesn't have slanted eyes :).

Another interesting custom is to leave presents beside children's beds during the night of December 24th, which in many cases have decorated Christmas socks.

If you were thinking that the gifts were under the Christmas tree, you are wrong.

Although the decoration of Christmas trees is something common, it is not customary for the Japanese to leave gifts under them.

I've also heard of two curious legends about a Japanese version of Santa Claus. One of them says that the good old man is a giant robot and the other is that the “old man” comes to pick up the little children who behave badly.

What a thing not?! I believe that legends of this kind are not very common things or it is just a way to keep children quiet.

How to say merry christmas in japanese

In a nutshell, I know three basic ways to say Merry Christmas in Japanese:


congratulations on christmas, would be a literal translation. It is a strange word for mixing elements of English and Japanese.


Merry Christmas!. This is the American language loan used by the Japanese. comes from the word merry christmas.


I didn't know this word, but as I found it on other websites about Japanese culture, I decided to quote here too.

They say it can also be used to say merry christmas, but it looks like another happy new year.

This may be related to the holiday season, but I don't recommend using it without a clear prior knowledge of the subject.


Although many websites mention Japanese Christmas as I described above, it usually happens in cities where the local population is made up of foreigners.

In many places, Christmas is just a memory of the Christmas we know here in Brazil.

Besides, even with decorations, Christmas trees, Santas and Mummy Clauses, luminous sculptures and everything else, in many places Japanese Christmas is more like “Valentine's Day”. The only thing that exists for Christmas is the decoration.

But not really, let's let Christmas die. I know that many foreign families find a way to celebrate Christmas properly, a date to motivate us to be more supportive of people throughout the coming year.

To conclude, I would like to wish a great Merry Christmas to all readers who follow the Japanese language.

Thank you for your visits, criticisms, suggestions and other contributions to this humble site.

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Image credits belong to dolly mixtures.