This article is from the American misconceptions about Japan FAQ, by Tanaka Tomoyuki email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
"I heard a funny story: in a Japanese department store they
installed a crucified Santa Claus for Christmas sale
ANSWER: probably an American urban legend.
(reliable information is sought.)
if it happened, it happened once about 50 years ago.
Los Angeles Times (March 16, 1993)
heading: "Japanese Parade for St. Patrick, Whoever He Was"
subheading: "Western holidays are all the rage. But a poor
understanding of their meanings leads to faux pas, such
as Santa on a crucifix."
there is one paragraph on crucified Santa Claus:
"The granddaddy of cultural faux pas here occurred just
after World War II, when a Ginza department store
rolled out its elaborate Christmas promotion: a smiling
Santa nailed to a crucifix."
I admit that the image of a crucified Santa Claus is a striking
one. but the oxymoronic juxtaposition is not totally unique
(for example, the 1993 music video of a Nirvana song
"Heart-Shaped Box"(?) with a crucified old man with a cap like
Santa Claus's). is it so interesting that it should be
mentioned in a heading of a major newspaper 50 years later?
or are US journalists suffering from some kind of compulsive