One day at school I heard that Halloween, in a well known part of Tokyo called Shibuya, was a lot of fun during Halloween. My friends and I heard that practically everyone at Temple University Japan was going, so we all decided to go, as well. I arrived first around 8 0’clock because I had heard it was crazy and crowded beyond all belief. Nothing could have prepared me for the crowd. It was crazy. It was extremely difficult to move–every square space seemed to have people on it. After going through much trouble to find my friends in the crowd we set off to “walk” around.
This involved people shoving us and our group shoving to get around. It was very difficult to even walk. We walked around and saw some of the most incredible costumes. Many people, both foreigners and Japanese, had put a lot of effort into their costumes. Some of them looked as though they had taken hours upon hours to complete. Others were simple, but very creative, such as a group of Charlie Chaplins I ran into, and they loved that I knew who they were. It was fun for me to see that people still appreciate Chaplin’s humor and movies. Many people also had costumes from TV Shows, movies, and Video Games that looked incredibly authentic. I ran into an Australian dressed as “Mad Max” from the “Mad Max” movie series. The fact that he was Australian made it even better. After a while many of us in our group had seen our share and were becoming claustrophobic because it was impossible to move in many places.
When I left I began wondering about Halloween in Japan in a larger historical and cultural context. Mind you, that Halloween is not widely celebrated in Japan. Most people know what it is, but don’t celebrate it. Over the past decade, according to my host family and Japanese professor, it has become more prevalent in Japan and more and more people are celebrating it. However, Japan has always had a way of adopting things from other cultures and making it their own, whether it’s technology, language or religion. Even some holidays are adopted by Japan. For example, Christmas in Japan is similar to New Years in the United States. Lovers typically spend this time together and people host parties at their house or elsewhere. Christmas in Japan has a unique Japanese flair to it and customs different from the United States or Europe. New Years in Japan is similar to Christmas in America and Europe because people typically go back to their families houses and spend time with their extended family and it is considered a sacred holiday in Japan.
Many people on Halloween in Japan go to Shibuya to have a good time and meet other people. Halloween in Japan has its own unique qualities and customs that makes it uniquely “Japanese.” Japan has adopted things over the centuries and integrate it into its culture, who knows, Halloween may be next.