Christmas was introduced to Japan in the 16th century with the arrival of the first Europeans, but it has only become a popular holiday recently. As with a Canadian Christmas, there are decorations, music, traditional foods, and presents. But somehow, Japanese Christmases have taken on some unique characteristics. For instance, they eat KFC rather than turkey in Japan. They enjoy strawberry shortcake instead of fruitcake. And they wait for Hotei Osho, not Santa Claus.
But the most significant difference is that Christmas in Japan is a holiday for couples, rather than families – think Valentine’s Day! It has become a favourite day for romance, and is often featured in shoujo (girls’) manga!
High School Debut (Volume 4)
Story and art by Kazune Kawahara
Meet tomboy Haruna. After dedicating her Junior High years to softball and shoujo manga, she has decided that her High School years are going to be committed to being in love and having a boyfriend. But she has a problem: she just doesn’t know how to attract boys. Luckily, handsome and popular Yoh knows what boys like about girls. On the condition that she doesn’t fall in love with him, he agrees to become Haruna’s love coach.
In volume 4, Haruna decides that she’s going to plan her and Yoh’s first Christmas together. Typically, she dives in heart first, turning their Christmas into a total production. This is one of my favourite shoujo Christmas moments: it’s full of angst, comedy, and of course, romance!
Ultra Cute (Volume 8)
Story and art by Nami Akimoto
When rivals Ami and Noa meet Tamon and Hiro, they are shocked to discover they DON’T fall in love with the same boy. Tamon and Hiro seem like cute, likeable boys, but they’re actually planning a mean prank on the girls. When Ami discovers this, she decides to get revenge.
Volume 8 is an angsty shoujo-style Christmas. Ami is excited to spend her Christmas with Tamon, but her plans are ruined when Sana is injured and it seems to be Tamon’s fault. When Sana requests that Tamon visit her in the hospital, will Ami be able to trust him or will jealousy get the better of her?
Story and art by Hisaya Nakajo
This is a short 2-volume shoujo series about first time skater Maya Kurinoki. After making an impression on skating coach Eijo Toda, she becomes the partner of Shun Kano, a professional skater. Although he agrees to train her, he has no interest in become partners with anyone – especially a novice. But when they learn that the rink is going to be shut down due to lack of funding, the two will have to pair up in order to save it!