A Kentucky twist on a Japanese tradition.

Though the company itself still calls him Colonel Sanders, in Japan the KFC founder/mascot is more commonly known as “Kentucky no Oji-san,” which translates loosely to “Uncle Kentucky” or “Old Man Kentucky.” Sure, it’s a friendly-enough sounding moniker, but you have to admit that it also doesn’t command the same sort of respect as “Colonel” does.

But later this week Colonel Sanders will be reclaiming the rugged gallantry that his rank suggests, as he dons suits of samurai armor at KFC branches in Japan.

The appearance of the Samurai Colonel (or “Musha Colonel,” to use his Japanese name) is an annual tradition at KFC Japan that started in 1984. In Japan, on May 5 families with young boys celebrate Children’s Day by displaying a decorative samurai helmet, or a doll dressed in samurai armor, in their homes. KFC adapts this custom by armoring up the statues of Colonel Sanders that stand outside their restaurant entrances.

▼ Samurai Colonels from previous years

The exact armor design is up to the individual branch’s employees, so there’s plenty of room for creativity. Some, like the above design, go the comedic route, while others recreate suits of armor worn by actual historical samurai, like this Sanada Yukimura-inspired Samurai Colonel, complete with the Nagano-area general’s six-ring crest…

…or this ensemble based on the mixed Japanese/Western-style armor of Oda Nobunaga.

Most branches’ Colonel Sanders will be donning their armor this Thursday, but at least one, pictured directly above, has already gotten a head start. In total, some 100 locations will be participating, with their Samurai Colonels on display until May 5.

Source, images: PR Times
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