KFC celebrates 40 years of celebrating Children’s Day.

Many times, the key to success for fast food chains from overseas that set up shop in Japan is keeping their core identity while adapting to the local culture. In the case of KFC Japan, we’ve seen them offer localized items like tsukimi sandwiches and matcha Krushers alongside their traditional fried chicken, but every year in early May even the restaurant décor gets an extra dash of Japanese style as founder Colonel Sanders dons a suit of samurai armor.

Outside most branches of KFC Japan standers a life-size statue of the Colonel, dressed in his signature white suit and string tie. March 5 is Children’s Day in Japan, though, when it’s the customs for families with boys to decorate their homes with a figurine dressed in samurai armor, as an auspicious symbol of strength of body and spirit, so KFC Japan celebrates by giving the Colonel a set of lamellar and helmet.

KFC first came to Japan in 1970, but it wasn’t until 1984 that they started displaying Samurai Colonels (also called Musha Colonels). That means that 2024 is the 40th anniversary of the tradition, and KFC Japan says that this year you can see Samurai Colonels at 892 branches of the chain, the most ever.

What’s more, each of those 892 KFC samurai is completely unique, since the employees themselves at each location design and craft the armor out of paper, wood, and other materials. Along with the Samurai Colonel statues, this year, for the first time a number of branches will be displaying Samuri Colonel figurines, allowing smaller branches that don’t have space for a full-sized Colonel Sanders statue to get in on the fun.

And since this is, really, all about fried chicken, anyone who spots a Samurai Colonel, posts a photo on Twitter between 10 a.m. on May 1 and 11:59 p.m. on May 5, and is following the KFC Japan official account is eligible to win one of 40 4,000-yen (US$26) digital KFC gift cards.

The Samurai Colonels are scheduled to be on display until May 6.

Source: PR Times
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