History of Christmas in Japan


Christmas is also celebrated in Japan.


It is said that missionaries introduced Christmas to Japan in the 16th century. However, the government was not happy with what missionaries did and implemented a national isolation to prevent Christianity from spreading in Japan. Celebrating Christmas was also banned. 

Dutch merchants who stayed in Dejima, Nagasaki at that time knew that the government banned Christmas, but they secretly celebrated it as a winter solstice festival there. In 1926 Emperor Taisho passed away on 25 December and the date became a holiday to pray for him. Some companies combined the holiday with their sales strategy and let people celebrate Christmas.

Now 25 Dec is not a holiday anymore in Japan but people still celebrate Christmas. We exchange gifts but interestingly, Japanese celebrate it rather like a Valentine's day, meaning that they spend the time with their loved ones.

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