Halloween is just around the corner! Japan is slowly getting covered in warm orange and purple colours, and pumpkins, cute ghosts, and witches will be all over the place come October. While this celebration wasn’t as prominent in the past, it has experienced a swift surge in popularity in recent years. In fact, most businesses in Japan are now embracing this trend to capitalize on the opportunities it offers.
We talked about how Japanese people celebrate autumn and explored how businesses can align their marketing strategies with Japanese autumn traditions in this article. This time, we’ll explore Japanese Halloween festivities and how businesses in Japan are leveraging this celebration.
History of Halloween in Japan
It is believed that Tokyo Disneyland was the one that introduced Halloween to Japan. In 1997, Tokyo Disneyland hosted their first-ever “Disney Happy Halloween” event and the spookiness just didn’t leave Japan. People dress up to attend these Disney Halloween events every year, and later on, other theme parks in Japan followed the trend. And now, Japanese people even bring the Halloween spirit to the streets, like in the popular Shibuya scramble.
“Disney Halloween” at Tokyo Disney Resort in 1997
Source: Yahoo News
How Japanese people Celebrate Halloween
Halloween originates from ancient customs and rituals paying tribute to the spirits of the dead. Whilst not many Japanese people are aware of this Halloween culture in other countries, the majority of Japanese people opt to celebrate it for fun and solely for the amusement value it offers. Below are some ways most Japanese people celebrate Halloween.
One thing we all know Japanese people do best is cosplay! Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival, now in its 10th year, has become the biggest cosplay festival in Japan, with over 20,000 cosplayers participating every year.
Street party: A swamp of people celebrating Halloween at Shibuya Scramble
It’s not just cosplay events that Japanese people dress up for. In recent years, the Shibuya scramble has become so popular that the mayor of the city, Ken Hasebe, has been discouraging people from attending due to the large number of people who want to take part. The government even had to ban stores in the area from selling alcohol.
Source: aix via Medium
And of course, there are also theme parks. These have always been big in Japan, but in recent years, tickets for these Halloween-themed parks often have been selling out incredibly quickly. With events starting as early as September, there’s no denying that Japanese people love celebrating Halloween in theme parks.
Companies embrace promotional events like Halloween for various reasons, and one key factor is the ease of product selection.
Examples of restaurants and cafés offering Halloween-themed goods on their menus
Take Valentine’s Day, for instance, it is predominantly associated with chocolate, making it challenging to diversify into other products or business models beyond confectionery.
Examples of businesses incorporating Halloween themes into their packaging
In contrast, Halloween in Japan carries a more versatile image, encompassing elements such as cosplay, sweets, and parties. This broader scope allows for the marketing of a wide range of products.
Examples of businesses holding Halloween-themed events in their games
Source: aix via Medium
In conclusion, Halloween in Japan, starting from its debut in Tokyo Disneyland in 1997 to its current status as a widespread and lively celebration, illustrates how Japanese culture has embraced international traditions. What was once a relatively niche event has now become a significant cultural phenomenon. Japanese businesses have noticed the opportunities Halloween offers for marketing and profitability, and they’ve eagerly embraced them.
Unlike some other holidays, Halloween in Japan provides a broad platform for entrepreneurs and corporations to expand their product range, try out creative marketing approaches, and connect with consumers in distinct and exciting ways.
The ongoing growth and popularity of Halloween in Japan highlight the potential for innovative and profitable endeavors that cater to the nation’s love for festivities. As the Halloween spirit continues to gain momentum in Japan, businesses that embrace this trend can expect to benefit from this dynamic and ever-expanding market.