Halloween 2013: Lupicia Tea

Lupicia is one of the Japanese companies that has really embraced Halloween marketing and does it incredibly well.

Lupicia Halloween via Lupicia
Lupicia Halloween via Lupicia

You’ll notice that the top image has an explanation of what Halloween is–in the context of their products: “October 31 is Halloween. If you hear the ghosts’ and witches’ password ‘Trick or Tea’ (“If you don’t give us tea, there’ll be mischief!”), have your tea and sweets ready! Come up, this fun party this starting!”

The description suggests the intended audience is supposed to now understand the phrase “trick or treat” enough that the pun makes sense, thus indicating cultural permeation of the holiday and its (admittedly recent) traditions?

Via Lupicia
Via Lupicia

“The wrappings increase the Halloween feel!” and the Japanese feel, since gifts must be wrapped in Japan.

Imo-Kuri-Kabo-cha (tea). Image via Lupicia

The marketing of the tea “Imo-Kuri-Kabo-cha,” literally “[sweet] potato – chestnut – squash [tea],” as a Halloween tea is an interesting example of blending traditions. Sweet potatoes, chestnuts, and kabocha squash are all famous fall foods in Japan, where the sense of food seasons is much more heightened in the general populace than it is in the US, possibly because of Japan’s historic love of seasonal poetry, patterns, and food; doubtless a result of being a small country where a lot of the climate is similar enough that the same plants and seasons occur throughout most of the country. Additionally, the US’s size allows for a lot more out-of-season products to be grown in other regions, hot houses, or imported. However, the art features a jack-o-lantern, one of the hallmarks of Halloween in the US.

Christmas, of course, also became popular with Japan and its marketing teams, and Japanese traditions like Christmas cake with cream and strawberries or Christmas-Eve romantic dates are now as Japanese as matcha. By conflating Japanese seasonal food traditions with American holiday imagery, what might Halloween become?

Have an example of Halloween foods in Japan? Send it my way in the comments!


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