People are preparing for their favourite festivals in whatever time is left in this year. Ahead of any other of them, Halloween is standing right on our porches, the kids ringing bells and chants of “Trick Or Treat?” all over the streets. Halloween is, although a catholic festival, it is known and is significantly a part of many subcultures in the different parts of the world.
Above all, Japan has always had the liking of adopting and celebrating the colourfulness of all the cultural festivities and redefining them for their own people, offering them endless chances at redecorations for any decorated custom or tradition. And the Japanese did the same with the hair-raising festival of Halloween; they reformed the festival in their own way.
Halloween was not as popular as it is today in Japan anytime near the early 2010s. In recent years that followed the last decade, the Japanese embraced this festival with both arms open to adding another day to boast of their fine pieces of arts. Shopping complexes, parks, streets and even houses are decorated to add on to the nature of the last night of October. In a sudden motion, awareness and celebration of Halloween have risen pretty dramatically in Japan. Trying to make it appear for familiar, more amenable to their folks, people in Japan have taken out the idea of wandering spirits of the dead and the spookiness of the festival aside and have made their worthwhile efforts to make it more like a colourful festival of food, events and costumes. Hence, providing the artists in Japan a yet another opportunity to come on the front and nurture the artistic timbre of Japan.
What does the celebration look like?
Japan does never want to miss out on any chance for showcasing the elements of their animated pop culture evincing radiance almost in every corner of the world as you read this. They did something similar to Halloween.
All the streets (mainly in Tokyo), department stores, and particularly catching the eye of everyone, the amusement parks are decorated with the anime characters, gaudy display of the ancient history of glorifying ‘art of animation’. People follow the western way of dressing up as their favourite characters or anyone out of fiction and visit the bars, restaurants, nightclubs and theme-parks to spread the joy throughout the night. Stalls for manga books, magazines, anime collections and other articles of pop culture are on display that can be found on the roadsides as well as on some named rendezvous.
Costumes For Halloween in Japan – in simple terms, It’s Cosplay folks!
Cosplay is a vital element of Japanese popular culture, and Japanese otakus never fall short on any opportunity for bringing this art on the front for people to watch and appreciate it.
Although, following the classic trend of dressing up as witches, devil, demons and yeah, the vampires, people in Japan are more driven towards their own choices of dressing up as their favourite anime, games and manga characters. People can either go for their own handmade costumes o even buy readymade costumes from the stores such as Disney Stores, Don Quijote and Daiso’s.
While, in western countries, Halloween is an occasion to remind them of their flamboyant legends and folklores, in Japan, it is a grand weekend to pay homage to their popular culture, obviously!
Shibuya, the centre of attraction
Tokyo is always on the front, leading all national events and festivities with enormous joy and enthusiasm. Same is the case with the Halloween celebrations. Shibuya, precisely, is the pivotal centre of attention of people celebrating the last nights of October.
Cosplayers, or simply anyone dressed up in costumes, crowd the Shibuya city of Tokyo to the party or to just hang out with other like-minded people in the humongous rabble. Shibuya has been serving as the major gathering spot for many young adults out on streets on the night of Halloween, and gradually become a culture to dress up as whoever or whatever one wants and gather on the chosen rendezvous in the Shibuya City. If anyone spots someone with the same/similar outfit, it is a custom to pose together for a photo, as a souvenir. Traffic is halted from the streets of Shibuya for letting the crowd roam freely on both the 30th and 31st of the October.
The costume tradition is majorly the triggering factor that made the Japanese youth fall in love with the concept of this western, catholic festival… and Shibuya’s celebration makes it even merrier for them to enjoy to the fullest.
The Japanese Take On Halloween Food Looks Delicious!
Several stores in Japan also bring forth exciting and mouth-watering snacks, sweets, cuisines and limited stock of food products for the Halloween season. Japan has amazingly taken on the food aspect on this festival by introducing the idea of Pumpkin (the Jack’o lanterns is a carved pumpkin which serves as the picture of Halloween) as the main and mandatory ingredient in all the products that are made for the Halloween nights in restaurants, convenience stores, departmental stores and even on the stalls. Everything is designed as a pumpkin and is decorated with bright colours to allure little children.
Japan special Halloween sweets are a must-try!
Popular Opinion About Halloween In Japan
As already mentioned, Shibuya City hosts events full of hordes of people from all around Japan; it would be foolish to not enquire about the varying opinions of people coming from different cities, following different customs about their views on Halloween in Japan. So to capitalize on the idea, Japan DJ Association conducted a survey of about 150 young men and women gathered in the Shibuya City for the all-night celebrations.
The results to the questions asked by the survey team are interactively described in the picture below –
Source for the survey picture: https://livejapan.com/en/in-tokyo/in-pref-tokyo/in-shibuya/article-a0003725/