「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Hunting for Easter

By Anthony Fensom


Japan loves chocolate. It is an obsession seen every Valentine's Day and even on White Day, an event known only to Asia. The nation also loves Santa Claus and Halloween, and there are even street parades for Ireland's St. Patrick's Day.

So with a love for chocolate and many Western traditions, why does Japan largely ignore Easter?

As might be expected, Tokyo Disneyland is happy to promote the event. This year, Mickey Mouse and his friends are parading in "Disney's Easter" through to late June -- well past the normal end of Easter.

The nation's Christian minority also marks the occasion with special church services. These celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, with eggs being a symbol of rebirth.

But elsewhere in Japan, there are few reminders of an event celebrated not only in Western countries, but even in parts of Asia, such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Many countries have national holidays for Easter, including Good Friday and Easter Monday, while Easter parades are held in many American cities. On Easter Monday, which this year fell on April 21, the U.S. president and first lady held the annual Easter egg roll on the south lawn of the White House.

In Australia, adults enjoyed a four-day long weekend, while kids got excited hunting for chocolate Easter eggs and eating hot cross buns. Schoolchildren have another reason to love Easter, as it usually occurs during school holidays.

So why hasn't Easter become a major event in Japan? One theory says the Christian basis of the festival may be too harsh for Japanese, since many Japanese Christians were crucified for their beliefs in the past.

Another theory says it is easier to sell Christmas as a romantic holiday, instead of Easter's theme of death and resurrection. With Christians accounting for only 1 percent of the population, there are few Japanese aware of the event's religious meaning.

And of course, Japan has many festivals of its own, while April is known more for cherry blossom parties and the start of the new working year.

Yet mixing Japan's love of kawaii cuteness with chocolates would seem like a sure-fire winner. Chocolate sellers could enjoy another bonus season, along with bakeries, egg painters and eateries.

Making Easter popular in Japan may just require a few celebrities, along with some big companies to promote it. A government declaration of Easter as a national holiday would help, too.

After all, why should Japanese kids miss out on all the fun?



The Japan Times ST: May 9, 2014

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版