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How Do Japanese People Celebrate Halloween?

Halloween in Osaka, 2016
(Halloween in Osaka, 2016 || Attribution: Mr.ちゅらさん, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Neither tricks nor treats for you!

It’s that time of the year again!

Time to wear a fun or scary costume, knock on your neighbors’ doors and ask for sweets (if you’re young enough for that), carve pumpkins, and have fun celebrating Halloween!

Well, in some western countries, that’s not exactly what happens in Japan.

And it’s only natural that, as people who deeply appreciate anime and Japanese culture, my Otaku friends may be curious to know if the Japanese celebrate Halloween.

So I’d like to share a little bit of what I know about the subject with you all!

What Is Halloween Like in Japan?

Shibuya Halloween 2018 (October 31)
Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Since Halloween isn’t part of Japanese culture, their way of celebrating this date is slightly different, but the fun is still the same!

“Trick or Treat” and pumpkin carving aren't very popular in Japan. Japanese Halloween is more popular among adults who like to dress up and have fun, so instead, the focus is on parties!

Through September and October, there are many street parties, flash mobs, parades, and other themed events all over the country, but the main date is still October 31.

Another similarity is that we can also find Halloween decorations, merchandise, and Halloween-themed dishes in Japan too!

When Did Japan Start Celebrating Halloween?

No wonder we don’t see Halloween episodes or stories very often in anime. Halloween only started to become popular in Japan in 2000!

Back then, Tokyo Disneyland held its first Halloween event. After that, other theme parks started doing the same.

The celebration slowly became increasingly popular, and the idea spread across the country.

Is Halloween A Thing In Japan?

Mister Donut halloween donuts in 2012
Mister Donut halloween donuts in 2012 || Karl Baron, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

After a turbulent beginning that involved protests against foreigners because of noisy celebrations in train cars, Halloween started growing in popularity, and events were getting bigger and more elaborate.

Even the Halloween trains happen now in a more organized and respectful way and Japanese people participate too!

And if we’re talking about the land of cosplay, we can’t forget about the Halloween costumes, amiright?

Jimi Halloween, The Boring Costumes!

Shibuya Halloween 2018 (October 31)
Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Pretty much like in other countries, popular costumes in Japan vary from cute to terrifying.

There are classic costumes, like witches, devils, black cats, cosplayers, and one thing that I find so fun: boring costumes!

Jimi Halloween, or “mundane” Halloween, is a trend of wearing simple costumes, or just regular clothes that represent relatable daily situations.

It started as a way for shy people to join the costume fun without drawing so much attention to themselves.

But like Halloween itself, more and more people wanted to participate, and the popularity of Jimi Halloween has been increasing ever since. To me, it’s like the meme of costumes!

Happy Halloween!

Shibuya Halloween 2018
Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, this short article doesn’t explain everything, but don't you get the idea?

Without a specific historical and cultural background, Halloween in Japan is a season meant for adults to have fun.

The real spooky season in Japan comes a little earlier, in summer, when friends share horror stories like in anime, and many horror movies are released.

What do you think about Japan's way of celebrating Halloween? Would you like to attend one of these parties? What costume (or cosplay) would you wear?

Images from Wikimedia Commons

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