In English it's Christmas, in Japanese it's Kurisumasu, and in Tokyo that means tinsel, glitter, a massive shopping spree and festivities aimed at the pocket rather than the heart.
GV People in shopping street. (4 shot)
CU & SV Side shows with people throwing coins. (8 shots)
GV & SV Street scenes with children shaking hands with Santa Claus. (4 shots)
SV Street stalls selling Christmas decorations. (4 shots)
GV & SV Shoppers in store. (5 shots)
For the big spender, videotape recorders (937 dollars) are all the rage. Other fast selling items are television games, including one 417 dollar version which features sports programmes, laser battles, tank, submarine and aerial warfare, and motor racing. For the children the biggest hits this year include radio controlled cars, for boys, and minitiaturised working ovens, for girls. These purchases are made possible by year-end bonuses ranging from two to three months salary.
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Background: In English it's Christmas, in Japanese it's Kurisumasu, and in Tokyo that means tinsel, glitter, a massive shopping spree and festivities aimed at the pocket rather than the heart.
SYNOPSIS: For the past month, the major department stores in the Japanese capital have been aglow with coloured lights and lavish decorations. Cash registers have been tinkling merrily.
In the 1950's Christmas was a time for carousing at office parties, and in Tokyo's thousand of bars and night clubs, but the trend now is more towards the family. For the vast majority of Japanese December the 25th is just another working day, but the head of the household likes to spend Christmas Eve with his wife and children. The reason, though, is not religion. Less than one per cent of Japan's 112 million people are Christians.
For the children, there is Uncle Santa or Santa Ojisan as they call him, but the festivities and the shopping spree seems to be aimed more at boosting trade for the more traditional year-end gift-giving season known as Oseibo. The fact that it takes place over Christmas is largely coincidental.
By December 26 all the decorations will have disappeared, but until then the various department stores vie fiercely to attract the big spenders. One store alone recently recorded 250,000 customers in one day. And they spent more than nine million dollars.