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Halloween in Japan

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/14 Pop Culture & OTAKU , , ,

Holidays from the west are common in Japan. There is Christmas Day, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween and others. Halloween is one of the recent ones with its popularity became widespread not later than one and a half decade ago.

The History of Halloween in Japan

Way before Halloween was introduced to Japan, the only used of pumpkins is for cooking. Not until theme parks introduced Halloween sometime in the late 90’s. In 1997, Tokyo Disneyland held its first “Disney Happy Halloween”. Though they invited all guests to take part in festivities, it didn’t became that well-known. It take some years to spread the word, and in 2000 Tokyo Disney was able to have its first Halloween parade dubbed as “Halloween Twilight Parade” which featured more than 400 visitors and Disney characters in costume. Universal Studios Japan in Osaka also had a similar event in 2002 known as “Hollywood Halloween” which was also a success. These two theme parks are the major catalysts of spreading Halloween culture in Japan.

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Popular Disney characters dressed in Halloween costumes can be seen everywhere in Tokyo Disney Resort during this season. (Photo by Chuck on Flickr)

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A Halloween Parade in Universal Studios Japan. (Photo by sean on Flickr)

Halloween is sometimes synonymous to costume parties. People dressed in popular horror characters are usually seen during these times. Japan, being the country that gave the world cosplay, did sure catch on and eventually adapt the annual event.

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Japan, as the country who gave the word cosplay, had eventually liked Halloween. (Photo by sean on Flickr)

Japan’s Horror Stories

When it comes to ghost and other scary stories, Japan has thousands of them too! The Japanese people like to share these ghost stories during summer. They believed that the horror you feel when listening to these stories will send shivers down your spine and fend off the summer heat. Stories like the Kuchisake-onna (slit-mouthed woman), a woman who covers her mouth which is slit from ear to ear with a surgical mask, and Hanako-san, the girl who haunts toilet stalls, are among them.

Halloween is an annual celebration originally observed as a season of remembering the dead. In Japan, they have also holidays dedicated to remember them. It is in Obon and Shuubun no Hi. In Obon, the spirits of your dead relatives visit your house while on the Shuubun, the living ones go to the cemetery to clean the graves.

Popular Halloween-themed Events

Every year, events that are themed Halloween in Japan are getting bigger and better as it is becoming more and more popular. Some of this year’s events are as follows:

Kawasaki Halloween Parade

October 26, 2014

Kawasaki, Kanagawa

Official Site: La Citadella

Kawasaki Halloween Parade is the most famous Halloween-themed parade in Japan. Now on its 17th edition, it is expected to have 3,500 participants.

Roppongi Halloween

October 26, 2014

Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo

Official Site: 6Hallo

The highlight of this event is the mass gathering of the popular video game Youkai Watch.

Universal Surprise Halloween 2014

Started last September 14, 2014

Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

Official Site: Universal Studios Japan

Attractions that are Halloween-themed includes Street Zombies, Chucky’s Horror Factory, and Ju-on: The Cursed Attraction.

Visit Japan during Halloween season and experience Halloween, the Japanese way!

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