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25th Nov 2022

Japan fans explain why they clean up after World Cup matches

Callum Boyle

How wholesome.

Three things are inevitable in life: death, taxes and Japan football fans being extremely wholesome at the World Cup.

Every four years they are the talking point and always for the right reason. In 2019, Japan’s fans made headlines during the Women’s World Cup after they were spotted cleaning up the stadium at full time.

Fast forward again three years later and they’re doing the same in Qatar. Despite recording a historic 2-1 win against Germany, their fans remained true to their word and began cleaning up the stadium moments later.

After their famous victory, some of their fans explained why they choose to help those in the stadium ensure it is clean and tidy, no matter what the result is.

“Our heart is clean, so the stands must be clean. This means the team reaches its destiny,” one fan told Al Jazeera.

Another said: “What we’re taught is that leaving things cleaner than the way you found it is atarimae. And that we should always express gratitude.”

A third fan was spotted with blue plastic bags to hand out to supporters. “We distribute these bags to everyone who sits in the Japan fan seats,” he explained.

“So when our team succeeds we can paint the area blue. To tidy and clean when we leave is a manifestation of our culture.”

Another added: “It’s because we’re taught it by our parents and through education.”

The fans weren’t the only ones expressing their gratitude. Images of the Japan dressing room went viral on social media after they left the changing room spotless.

In addition to that, they also left 11 origami-folded swans on the table as an act of kindness.

Japan are in a strong position to qualify for the knockout stages and face Costa Rica in their next game before their final fixture against Spain.

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