‘fukubukuro’ means lucky bags, an icon of new year in Japan.
How it works is shops put together bags of unsold goods in a specially
decorated bag, and sell each bag at a discounted price. This is generally up to
There are cheap bags such as for a couple of thousand yen to a couple of
hundred thousand yen.
It is essentially a gamble, where you hope you strike luck and get some good
things. In terms of consumerism the marketing is top notch. Claims such as a
high-end shirt is in one of the bags, so you will need to buy more than one etc.
The sales start from new years day for a few days. In essence it’s more the
excitement of surprise than anything. The images of long lines of people
waiting for stores to open to buy their ‘fukubukuro’ are televised on television
and it has really become a tradition more than anything.
It would be interesting if you could buy a take away version where you have
no idea what food your ordering.