At the World Cup, Japanese fans won the respect of football fans by tidying up after games. But why do they do it?
The Japanese are quite something, aren’t they?
The nation’s supporters have a reputation for orderliness at international football competitions, and the World Cup in Qatar has not deviated from that tradition.
Al Jazeera decided to find out why Japanese fans pick up trash at games in which their country isn’t even taking part.
After their shocking 2-1 victory over Germany, one supporter remarked, “Our heart is clean, so the stands must be clean. This means the squad reaches its destiny.”
Many fans also used the term “atarimae,” which means “stating the obvious,” in their comments.
We’re taught to always be grateful and to leave the world a little bit cleaner than we found it, according to another enthusiast.
Another person explained: “Our parents and our schooling have taught us this.”
We give these bags to everyone who sits in the Japan fan seats, a supporter who carried blue plastic bags to offer to other fans said.
“So that we can paint the region blue when our team triumphs. When we leave, we tidy and clean, which reflects our culture.
Scott McIntyre, a football journalist working in Japan, told the BBC in 2018 that it was also a part of Japanese culture.
“You frequently hear people say that football is a reflection of culture, and one key component of Japanese society is making sure that everything is totally clean, and that’s certainly the case in football as well as in all other athletic activities,”
When it comes to picking up trash on the global football stage, Japanese fans have a history.
They won the admiration of millions in 2018 when, following a sad loss to Belgium in the dying seconds of their World Cup match, they cleared the Rostov Arena.
And a year later, after their team had defeated Scotland 2-1 in Group D of the Women’s World Cup, several of their fans swept up trash at Roazhon Park, demonstrating their dignity once more.
With a victory over Germany, they had the ideal start to their campaign in Qatar. On Sunday, they play against Costa Rica in Group E’s second game (26 November).