[Image: aeonretail]

Japan doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Christmas stuff starts going up as soon as Halloween finishes, which, I guess, also happens in the U.S. While Japan isn’t the only country to recently latch on the American sales bonanza Black Friday, the day has increasingly become more noticeable.

See? People are noticing!

Though, even this year, some people think it’s a day the country could do without.

So why does the country have Black Friday? Because money, that’s why.

Above is a commercial from major Japanese retailer Aeon.

Last year’s ad (above) explained that Black Friday “major sales” started in the U.S. The shopping mall chain’s Black Friday sales are three days long and stretch into Cyber Monday.

Aeon Mall, Japan largest shopping center chain, kicked off Black Friday sales across the country.

As did other stores, such as Toys “R” Us.

The deals and crowds don’t reach the fever pitch that they do in the States. Yet.

Many people in Japan, however, seemed unsure what exactly “Black Friday” meant.

In English, of course, “Black Friday” refers to retail instantly making a profit—being in the black. In Japanese, there is a similar expression, “kuroji” (黒字). Not sure if that helps Black Friday’s chances in Japan, but there you go.

Gap kicked off a huge Black Friday event last year, while Toys “R” Us Japan began Black Friday sales back in 2014.

This year’s Gap events drew lines, which people hoping to score a limited number of sweaters for 100 yen (less than a dollar).

Japan has bigger sales drawing much longer lines during the New Year’s Holidays, which already has an established sales tradition with items like “lucky bags.” Retailers, it seems, no doubt hope that Black Friday will give a fall sales bump to their bottom line.

As previously mentioned, there is no Thanksgiving (Halloween, however, is celebrated), so Black Friday obviously doesn’t mark the official start of holiday shopping.

Not that such matters much these days.

This article was originally published on November 28, 2016.

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