A Tokyo department store's Christmas display that is valued at 2,000 million Yen (about 7 million dollars U.
A Tokyo department store's Christmas display that is valued at 2,000 million Yen (about 7 million dollars U.S.) is just one example of the big business Christmas time represents in Buddhist orientated Japan.
SYNOPSIS: To most of the nation's 112 million population, 25 December is just another day. But for Japan's large department stores it's the middle of the big sales season. December is traditionally bonus time in Japan. It's when the average worker receives his end of year "extras".
The amount of money spent on advertising Christmas may seem strange as Japan is predominantly Buddhist in religion. But Christmas is treated as a build-up to New Year's Day (1 January) which is celebrated on a grand scale. Japanese exchange lavish gifts on first January, so Christmas really just means six days to go to the big event.
But the stores do have the right spirit -- the spirit of profit. One enterprising Tokyo department store decorated their Christmas tree of angels with precious stones. The tree is just 3 feet (1 metre) high but it's worth a fortune. With a 15 carat one million dollar (U.S.) diamond on top and 107 other diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds it has attracted its fair share of attention. In fact one could say, it's just the thing for the multimillionaire who has everything.