And that reason is money.
[GIF via AEON]
Like Australia, Japan doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and Christmas stuff starts going up as soon as Halloween finishes, which, I guess, now also happens in the US. Japan isn’t the only country to recently latch on the American sales bonanza Black Friday, but in 2016, the day was more noticeable than ever before.
Yup. Black Friday sale signs all over this Aeon shopping mall. First time I've really noticed them here in Japan.— HyveMynd (@HyveMynd) November 25, 2016
See? People are noticing!
Aeon released an ad that explains that Black Friday “major sales” started in the US. The shopping centre chain’s Black Friday sales are three days long and stretch into Cyber Monday.
Aeon Mall, Japan largest shopping centre chain, kicked off Black Friday sales across the country.
As did other stores, such as Toys “R” Us.
The deals and crowds don’t reach the fever pitch that they do in the States. Yet.
【イオンモール沖縄ライカム】— WEGO 沖縄エリア (@WEGO_okinawa) November 25, 2016
Many people in Japan, however, seemed unsure what exactly “Black Friday” meant.
In US English, of course, “Black Friday” refers to retail instantly making a profit — being in the black. In Japanese, there is a similar expression, “kuroji” (黒字). Not sure if that helps Black Friday’s chances in Japan, but there you go.
Gap kicked off a huge Black Friday event last year, while Toys “R” Us Japan began Black Friday sales back in 2014.
This year’s Gap events drew lines, which people hoping to score a limited number of sweaters for 100 yen (around $1).
Japan has bigger sales drawing much longer lines during the New Year’s holidays, which already has an established sales tradition with items like “lucky bags“. Retailers, it seems, no doubt hope that Black Friday will give a seasonal sales bump to their bottom line.
As previously mentioned, there is no Thanksgiving (Halloween, however, is celebrated), so Black Friday obviously doesn’t mark the official start of holiday shopping.
AEON department stores have organized a "Black Friday" sale this year. That's one tradition Japan could do without.— Chris Carlier (@Pubgoblin) November 24, 2016
Not that such matters much these days.
Further proof Japan doesn’t get Black Friday.— Brandon Pittman (@brandonpittman) November 28, 2016
It’s Monday. I’m at the grocery store. pic.twitter.com/Vbfft8vU2W