A mysterious development has us scratching our heads. 

Christmas is over, which means quiet nights have come to Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan. You know, since Christmas is the season to eat chicken…or so it is in Japan.

But KFC Japan is clearly hoping to extend their sphere of influence in the holidays. For the past three years, the chain has been trying to break into the market for osechi, traditional New Year’s food, with its “Kentucky Oju”. With two or three layers of delicious deep-fried goodness in a box decorated with Japanese patterns, this take-home box is as pretty as it is delicious. Our Japanese-language reporter Ahiruneko buys one every year, and this year was no different.

▼ “Oju” is the Japanese word for a multi-tiered box of food.

The Kentucky Oju, which is sold in limited quantities, comes in three varieties: Plum (“Ume”) for 2,490 yen (US$18.66), Bamboo (“Take”) for 2,840 yen, and Pine Tree (“Matsu”) for 3,390 yen. Ahiruneko recommends the Bamboo and Pine Tree varieties because they have three layers instead of two. I mean, who doesn’t want more layers? As you take them apart one by one, your excitement ratchets up with each level revealed.

Although the boxes in the Kentucky Oju are made from cardboard and can’t be reused (unlike most other osechi box sets), they’re still plenty full of New Year’s cheer. Ahiruneko purchased the Bamboo box, which you can see here.

In the first layer is a six-piece of KFC’s Original Chicken, which is their classic fried, bone-in pieces.

Ahiruneko had KFC’s roasted and smoked chicken for Christmas this year, but he couldn’t help but feel he wasn’t ending the year on the right note without a meal of fried chicken too. Its crispy, juice gooness was an immense relief to his spirit.

Another box contained five chicken nuggets

…and two biscuits.

And the final box contained a small bag of fries

…and three pieces of “Plump and Tender Fried Shrimp”.

Ahiruneko had never had these before, but upon first taste, he realized they were quite delicious. The batter was delightfully crunchy, but somehow also nice and light and not too overwhelming. The shrimp itself was surprisingly big. The special tartar sauce that came with it really drew out its flavor.

If you bought each of these items separately, your bill would likely run up to 3,450 yen, so by purchasing this box you’re saving about 610 yen. The Plum and Pine Tree boxes would save you 190 yen and 830 yen respectively, so from the perspective of value, the Plum box doesn’t offer much. As expected, the three-layer boxes are most worth it.

Still, every box also has a “coupon pass” inside, so you really can’t go wrong with any of them. This is a special discount card for certain menu items you can use as many times as you like until March 31. This year it’s called the “Otoshidama Coupon Pass”, named after the envelope of gift money adults give children on New Year’s.

But…wait a minute. Where did we see this “Otoshidama Coupon Pass” before? Ahiruneko had a vague memory of seeing it while waiting to pick up his Kentucky Oju. Was it on the poster advertising the Kentucky Lucky Bag? Let’s see…

There were food tickets, which you can use at any KFC in the country…

The original KFC tote bag


The Otoshidama Coupon Pass?!

There had to be some kind of mistake. Ahiruneko double-checked the coupon pass he received from his Oju…and it looked exactly the same. No way! The lucky bags were only going to be on sale for one day only, and yet Ahiruneko already had in his hand the Otoshidama Coupon Pass that was supposed to be included in the lucky bag?

Perhaps they don’t offer the same discounts. Ahiruneko checked the back of his Otoshidama Coupon pass and saw that it discounted the price of a Chocolate Pie and Small Drink set, a three-piece chicken and five-piece nugget set, and a one-piece and Chicken Filet Burger (Cheese or Spicy) set.

The poster didn’t disclose what discounts are on the Otoshidama Coupon Pass that comes with the Lucky Bag, so we can’t be sure if it’s different or not. But Ahiruneko did know one thing: as someone who would buy both the Oju and the Lucky Bag, he’d rather they be different. But if they have the same name…

It’s no mistake that this coupon pass was included in the Oju, either, as a quick look at the website revealed the Oju advertised as coming with the pass. Ahiruneko is curious to see if the pass that comes with the lucky bag is the same as the one that comes with the Oju.

The KFC Lucky Bag will only be on sale on January 1, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Some lucky bags, however, like those from beef bowl restaurant Yoshinoya and Japanese gangster fashion brand Birth Japan, are already out, and of course, we wasted no time opening them up. Keep your eye out for more lucky bag unveilings as the New Year approaches!

Images © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!