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Post-Halloween: Rethinking the meaning of Halloween in Japan

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

It has become an annual event that people go to Shibuya to celebrate Halloween, and we see them on the morning news on November 1st. But do you all remember that this massive celebration of Halloween only started around 2015? Since the history of Halloween in Japan is shallow, many people in Japan only think of it as a cosplay event to have fun. Since the past, people in Japan have made foreign celebrations, making them into their own, such as turning Christmas into an event for couples. I am not against people celebrating Halloween in Japan, but I am concerned about how they are celebrating it. Here are my thoughts on why I am not so sure about supporting Halloween culture in Japan.

The “Bad Manners” being the IMAGE For Halloween

The image of Halloween overall seems to be bad in Japan. Despite the young generations enjoying Halloween and having a good image of it, it is different for other people, and here is why. The news on November 1st in Japan is always about the bad manners and incidents of the previous night. This year was about how specifically “若者”(young people) were misbehaving by drinking on the street even though prohibited, blasting music on the road, and fighting. The image of Halloween is becoming solid as the one time of year where “young people” can misbehave. On Halloween night, especially n Shibuya, there are many sexual harassments, garbage, fights, and the whole idea of Halloween in Japan seems like chaos. It is sad for a great culture to be seen like this.

People not knowing the origin of Halloween

This may not be only in Japan, but too many people do not know the origin of Halloween. If they’re going to celebrate it, shouldn’t they at least learn the origin to respect the culture? During Halloween, It is always about the Halloween-related products on media and Shibuya that is on the media. Since Halloween is relatively new in Japan, I believe it is important for the media to explain what Halloween is like every year if they are going to introduce Halloween-related products. I am pretty sure that people don’t really know what Halloween is.

So how do you think of Halloween in Japan? I believe the lack of respect for Halloween is problematic, and people need to be more conscious of what Halloween is. In addition, consciousness for cultural appropriation of Halloween costumes seems low in Japan since I have seen some underground idols wearing problematic costumes and no one raising questions about it. Finally, I’ve been thinking about a question for some time: if people don’t know the meaning of Halloween in Japan and celebrate Halloween for their own fun, isn’t that cultural appropriation? Or, since the shape of Halloween has even changed in the originated countries, is it not a problem? What do you think?

Yuno Yamamoto

ICU Japan '24

Currently studying at ICU. Enjoys reading, watching films/TV series on NETFLIX, listening to music, and drawing. Also enjoys going to art museums and collecting picture frames.
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