Halloween in Japan ハロウィン
Limited edition Halloween donuts at Mister Donut
Credit: Karl Baron
Some Japanese Halloween costumes!
A Halloween display in a department store
Credit: Hideya HAMANO
Trick or treat?
Halloween in Japan sees a huge marketing push with limited editions of sweets, pumpkin flavoured drinks, festivities, and more. The Japanese have embraced this Western festival and celebrate it in their own way every year.
In the United States Halloween has a long tradition, but that's definitely not the case in Japan. At first glance the festival has nothing to do with the Japanese culture of Shintoism and Buddhism. However, this evening where people can dress up and enjoy scaring each other is actually in line with some Japanese customs, hence its growing success in recent years.
Read: Rosoku Matsuri
Shiver with pleasure
Since the 1990s, Japanese cinema has spawned many horror movies with ghosts and terrifying apparitions. If we add the Japanese passion for manga and cosplay (dressing up in costume) and their wealth of stories and legends, it is not surprising that a celebration where you dress up is now a success.
Read more: Manga
Not just for kids
For us, Halloween is primarily a children's event, synonymous with the phrase "trick or treat" to fill your bucket up with candy. Well, there's no trick or treating in Japan, or even celebrations in schools. Halloween is more aimed at young adults. If parades or parties are organized in some areas of Tokyo, it'll be in bars and nightclubs where Halloween has proven most popular.
In supermarkets in Japan you'll easily find pumpkin candy, but also bento reproducing severed limbs, spiders or even bloody eyes. Bon appétit! As you walk down the street, you'll certainly come across hordes of the living dead, but also a few characters straight out of popular manga, or characters from Studio Ghibli animations.
Girls dressed as Kiki from Studio Ghibli's "Kiki's Delivery Service" for Halloween