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Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.



Christmas in Asia – Celebrating in Japan.

The secular celebration of Christmas is popular in Japan, though Christmas is not a national holiday.

The Japanese have adopted the character of Santa Claus but the image does not carry the same social importance as in western countries. In other words, Japanese parents don’t lie to their kids.

Christmas is not a holiday at all in Japan.

Christmas Eve is a time for lovers to:

1. exchange gifts,

2. have a special date

3. stroll under Christmas lights

4. go to parties

Christmas decorations come down on the 25th and are immediately replaced by New Year’s decorations.

The Japanese who do celebrate Christmas at all do it with a Christmas cake – a white whipped cream cake with strawberries.

The first Christmas in Japan was celebrated by Jesuit missionaries in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1552. However, St. Xavier may have done it a few years earlier.

Christianity was banned throughout Japan beginning in 1612. Missionaries were kicked out in the 1580s.

A small group of Japanese Christians, known as Kakure Kirishitan (“hidden Christians”), practiced underground for the next 250 years, and Christianity along with Christmas practices reemerged at the beginning of the Meiji period.

In circles heavily influenced by American customs, Christmas parties were held and presents were exchanged.

From the 1960s. the influenced of American TV dramas and expanding economy led to Christmas becoming more popular, but not as a religious occasion.

Japan’s current emperor, Akihito, was born on December 23, making the day a national holiday. Christmas, however, is not.

In the 20 some years I was in Japan…I worked every Christmas day as if it were any other day. Of course, the lessons I taught were usually about what Christmas is really supposed to mean.

How will you celebrate Christmas?


Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.

Bill Belew

Daddy and Christian.

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