Halloween in Japan

Japan has a way of taking Western holidays and observances and putting its own unique spin on them. Christmas in Japan is date night and glorious displays of light. On Valentine’s Day women give men chocolate. And in recent years, Halloween has turned into a festive, month-long event.

While the Japanese don’t do much trick-or-treating, their penchant for cosplay makes Halloween a perfect fit. Check out these photos from Tokyo Fashion, a website that features Japanese street fashion. They found tons of great costumes roaming the streets of Shibuya. Of course, there were cosplayers, with Sailor Moon and One Piece characters.

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Photo by Tokyo Fashion

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Photo by Tokyo Fashion

 

And let’s pay tribute to Ninetendo.

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Photo by Tokyo Fashion

 

Zombies are always popular.

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Photo by Tokyo Fashion

 

Group costumes are all the rage in Japan.

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Photo by Tokyo Fashion

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Photo by Tokyo Fashion

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Photo by Tokyo Fashion

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Photo by Tokyo Fashion

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Photo by Tokyo Fashion

For more great costumes, visit Tokyo Fashion’s Flickr page.

Halloween may be a relatively new tradition in Japan, but the country has a rich history in spooky folklore. As the above Halloween reveler dressed as (a modified) Medama Oyaji indicates, these characters stay alive in modern consciousness as well as in ukiyo-e prints and Noh and Kabuki theater. Mental Floss lists Kiyohime as one of the ten horrifying demons and spirits from Japanese folklore. The jilted lover-turned-murderous serpent was also the subject of DOJOJI, a play by Pan Asian Repertory Theatre last year.

Brian Ashcraft of the website Kotaku shares fantastic photos from the Halloween parade in Kawasaki, which he says drew more than 2,500 participants decked out in mind-blowing costumes. Here’s one of them, from The Japan Times:

Halloween, Halloween in Japan, costumes, cosplay, yokai, obake, ghosts, Medama Oyaji, Waldo, parade, Kiyohime, Yuki Onna, folklore

Halloween parade in Kawasaki. Photo by The Japan Times.

Will you see costumes this elaborate in New York tonight? Happy Halloween!