Have another Christmas song to argue about
December 3, 2017 6:39 PM   Subscribe

Xmas Express was a series of commercials for Japan Rail that ran from 1988-1992, with a reboot in 2000. They featured the Japanese Christmas song "Christmas Eve," recorded by Tatsuro Yamashita in 1983, and a different up-and-coming actress each year. In each, the main character is shown meeting her boyfriend at a train station - because if you didn't know, Christmas is a romantic holiday in Japan, where the traditions include going out to a romantic dinner, seeing the lights, and sharing KFC and a Christmas cake. (Other holidays are outside the scope of this post, but if that piques your interest, you might also want to read about Valentine's Day and White Day in Japan.)

(More Tatsuro Yamashita. "Christmas Eve" covered by duo Chemistry in 2003.)

List of actresses from the Youtube video description:
1988 Eri Fukatsu
1989 Riho Makise
1990 Rina Takahashi
1991 Miho Mizobuchi
1992 Takami Yoshimoto
2000 Mari Hoshino (this one also brought back Eri Fukatsu and Riho Makise, the actresses from the first two commercials)

Xmas Express on Japanese Wikipedia
posted by sunset in snow country (11 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Did you mean to suggest that this series of commercials started in 1998 and worked backwards to 1992?! Because that would be awesome!
posted by evilDoug at 6:48 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]

Nooooooooo! Mods, that should be 1988. Gah! Thanks for the heads up.
posted by sunset in snow country at 6:51 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:52 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]

I love these so much and watch them every year, thank you for this post
posted by colorblock sock at 7:51 PM on December 3

I watched them all. That was fun :)
posted by bunderful at 8:13 PM on December 3

if you didn't know, Christmas is a romantic holiday in Japan
Oh my goodness, yes. I have to explain to friends and family in the US that I don't get Christmas off because it's basically just considered Valentine's Day But With Lights in Japan.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:13 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]

Christmas is a romantic holiday in Japan
Seems like a far more reasonable interpretation of a holiday dedicated to "virgin birth." Also, this is neat!
posted by eotvos at 2:24 AM on December 4


OK, I had totally forgotten about these ads and that song, but it all came crashing back immediately. Thank you, sunset in snow country!

I have a terrible urge to see what my students born around '97-'98 think or even know about this.
posted by Gotanda at 2:53 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]

I’m adding that song into the Christmas rotation.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 5:56 AM on December 4

I actually kind of dig the 2000 shout-out - it looks like all the other ads follow the plot of "girl thinks that her sweetie isn't going to make it in time to spend Christmas with her but surprise he totally does!"

But then the last one seems to turn that on its head with "girl's sweetie is caught up at work so she decides that she will be the one to surprise him," and the actresses from the first two are looking on with approval and thinking "you go, girl".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]

I don't really understand the 1990 one, did she just come home to a note from her sweetie saying "oh by the way I took the train and uh I went to get dinner or something I'll be home later?"
posted by chrominance at 6:20 PM on December 4

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