‘Tis the season for warrior chicken.

Like a lot of global fast food chains, KFC does things differently in Japan. Here, the chain celebrates special occasions with Christmas chicken, multi-tier New Year’s meals, and…Samurai Colonel Sanders.

You see, in Japan, Colonel Sanders figures are commonly set up outside KFC stores, and at the end of April and beginning of May every year, staff dress their colonel up in warrior garb so it looks like a samurai.

The reason for the Colonel’s cosplay is Children’s Day, an annual public holiday on 5 May that celebrates the happiness of children. While it’s known as Children’s Day today, it wasn’t always that way, because before the government officially decreed it in 1948, it was known as Boys’ Day, with Girls’ Day being celebrated on 3 March.

Girls’ Day is still celebrated on 3 March, with all its related customs and traditional activities, although it’s not a public holiday. And while Boys’ Day is now known as Children’s Day, it’s mostly celebrated in households with sons and a lot of the old traditions related to Boys’ Day still remain. One of those traditions is flying koi carp streamers, and another is decorating the home with a kabuto (traditional battle helmet).

The samurai helmet is seen as a wish for boys to grow up strong and powerful, and it’s a tradition that KFC has been keeping alive since 1984, when the first helmet-wearing Colonel appeared in Japan. It’s become such a spectacle that customers look forward to the Samurai Colonel’s appearance every year, and this year the colonel will be donning his warrior helmet yet again, this time at 129 stores nationwide.

According to the chain, staff at each store come up with an idea for the outfit they’d like to make, using waste materials such as cardboard boxes from their respective stores to craft their very own Musha Colonel, giving each one its own distinctive flair.

The initiative aims to bring smiles to local customers and help to create a connection between them and the staff, who work hard to devise everything from the size of the armour to the shape of the helmet.

▼ This idea sees the Musha Colonel appearing in a countertop display.

One of the grandest colonels will be appearing at the chain’s head office in Yokohama, adorned in a helmet and armour donated by Kamakura Mononofu, an organisation that helps to promote Kamakura, “the ancient capital of samurai families”.

The Samurai Colonel displays will be around from 29 April to 5 May, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. And if you’re looking for another Japan-only special at KFC, there’s hash brown burgers on the menu at the moment, but only for a limited time!

Source, images: PR Times
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter