Even in the euphoria of their most famous World Cup win, Japan’s fans stayed behind to help clean up at the stadium in Qatar on Wednesday.
Following Japan’s stunning 2-1 win over Germany in Group E, the team’s supporters took it upon themselves to pick up rubbish left behind in the stands of Khalifa International Stadium.
Japan: A Whole New World
Fans who attended the opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup left the stadium with flags and a lot of garbage.
Japanese fans cleaned the stadium.
When asked why?, they responded we clean up trash wherever we see it and never leave it behind. pic.twitter.com/8K3SRiBI1y
— Anas Abdisalam Said (@AnasEncyclo) November 21, 2022
Photos show fans decked out in Japan soccer jerseys, and armed with blue trash bags, moving through the stadium seats picking up pop bottles and other garbage left on the stadium floor.
Japanese fans were also seen removing trash following the tournament’s opening match between Qatar and Ecuador despite their team not even playing at the time.
Some fans were seen handing out trash bags before the end of a match.
Japan fans are giving garbage bags to collect the trash after the game pic.twitter.com/A5WEna62L6
— Winners Club (@WinnersCB) November 23, 2022
Japan fans have a history of cleaning up stadiums
Japan fans have a history when it comes to tidying rubbish at stadiums in international football.
Back in 2018, after a heartbreaking defeat in the final seconds of their World Cup last 16 clash against Belgium, they earned the respect of millions when they cleared up the Rostov Arena.
Even after that incredible win against Gǝrmāny, Japanese🇯🇵 fans stayed behind to clean up the entire stadium!
The world would be much better if everybody tries to clean his or her mess.🤔🤔#Dollar #FIFAWorldCup #CristianoRonaldo #Qatar2022 #Japan #EndFGM pic.twitter.com/cLA4ekLHnt
— ThankGod Ochai™️ (🌏) (@OchaiThankgod) November 23, 2022
And a year later, they showed their class again after a section of supporters picked up rubbish at Roazhon Park following their side’s 2-1 victory over Scotland in Group D of the Women’s World Cup.
In Japan, cleanliness is a part of the culture and is drilled into its people from early childhood.
In 2018, Scott North, a professor of sociology at Osaka University, told the BBC that tidying up is a way Japanese people “demonstrate pride in their way of life”.
“Cleaning up after football matches is an extension of basic behaviors that are taught in school, where the children clean their school classrooms and hallways,” he said.