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Halloween in Japan

Ewa Nowogorski

Halloween was a holiday that did not historically exist in Japan, and until recent times was only celebrated in small parts of large cities, mainly in Tokyo, by a niche community obsessed with dressing up in the most unique costumes they can conjure up.

In America, Halloween is a holiday for the kids and the adult nerds. They get dressed up and the main event is the trick-or-treating they get to do when they come back home from school.

In Japan, Halloween has become a holiday for everyone, turned into a mainstream event that creates an excuse for everyone to unleash their inner child.

Halloween likely became popular in Japan because of the potential capital gains to be made from exploiting this day. People will pay hundreds for unique costumes, and there are countless Halloween themed goods ranging from small toys to pastries to stationary, which people will pay extra for due to its themed nature.

Shibuya has become ground zero for Halloween in Japan, and this is where all the cosplayers congregate on this one special day of the year. Thousands of people in costume pack the streets to walk around and party. People take selfies and just talk to other strangers about their costumes. If the crowds are too much for one to handle, the entire event is broadcast on TV for the less adventurous to watch from home. Halloween isn’t so much about the horror lore as it is about the dress up here in Japan.

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