Despite the fact that only four per cent of Japan's 108-million people are Christians, Christmas is celebrated with unbounded enthusiasm.
GV EXT. Department store with XMas decorations
GV People outside departmental store
SV INTERIOR goods and Xmas decorations (5 shots)
SV People looking at goods (2 shots)
GV EXTERIOR of cakes factory
SCU INTERIOR making cakes (3 shots)
SV cakes put in boxes (2 shots)
SV Piles of cakes in boxes in store
Initials AE/17.21 AE/17.36
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Background: Despite the fact that only four per cent of Japan's 108-million people are Christians, Christmas is celebrated with unbounded enthusiasm.
Few of the celebrants, who are mainly Buddhists or Shintoists, realise that Christmas marks the birth of Christ. There is no public holiday on 'Kurisumasu', as Christmas is called in Japan, but the massive spending on gifts matches the holiday buying in any Christian country. At the end of each year, many Japanese receive tax-free bonuses that equal the equivalent of up to ten months salary. The result, despite spiralling inflation and a tight economy, is that the department stores are doing record business.
It is tradition in Japan to give gifts at the end of the year. Shopkeepers have capitalised on this gift-giving, called O'-Seibo' by exploiting Christmas. The department stores are filled with Christmas decorations and many even feature Santa Clauses. As in Christian countries, sweets are also an integral part of the Christmas season. Cake manufacturers maximise their output at this time of the year to meet the demand.