Japan's fans at the World Cup 2022 #WorldcupQatar2022 continue to impose a set of civilized behaviors that made everyone respect them for what they are doing. Despite their country's defeat against Costa Rica, they cleaned the stands of Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium where the match was played despite the sadness that appeared on them after the match.
Japan's fans have persisted in upholding a set of polite customs that have earned them everyone's respect and appreciation of others for them, even the fans of the other teams participating in the World Cup in Qatar had become follow the example of the Japanese fans. When Morocco's fans cleaned the stadium's stands after the match that took place yesterday between the Moroccan national team and the Belgian national team.
Japan fans clean up the stands in World Cup 2022
The sight of Japanese fans at a World Cup bagging trash after a match — win or lose — always surprises non-Japanese. Japanese players are famous for doing the same in their team dressing room: hanging up towels, cleaning the floor, and even leaving a thank-you note.
The behavior is driving social media posts at the World Cup in Qatar, but it's nothing unusual for Japanese fans or players. They are simply doing what most people in Japan do — at home, at school, at work, or on streets from Tokyo to Osaka, Shizuoka to Sapporo.
Japan: A Whole New World— Anas Abdisalam Said (@AnasEncyclo) November 21, 2022
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
The Japanese fans clean their stands after each meeting, which they did after the Germany match, in which they won 2-1 in the first round of the World Cup matches, but after their defeat to Costa Rica, this behavior seemed from them more civilized because of the state of sadness that dominated them.
Even after that incredible win against Gǝrmāny, Japanese🇯🇵 fans stayed behind to clean up the entire stadium!— ThankGod Ochai #16DaysOfActivism🧡 #EndFGM🚫 (@OchaiThankgod) November 23, 2022
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
This was most noticeable after Japan's dramatic 2-1 win over Germany on Wednesday when they still found time to pick up the rubbish despite the elation that they must have been feeling.
Of course, the Japanese are well-known for their cleanliness and have been cleaning up after themselves at football matches for years now but why do they do it?
Why do Japanese fans clean the stadium?
“It's a sign of respect for a place,” said Eiji Hattori, 32, a fan from Tokyo, who had a bag of bottles, ticket stubs, and other stadium detritus.
Al Jazeera Channel decided to find out why Japanese fans clean the stadium and asked several Japanese fans why they do this very admirable trait. Speaking to supporters after Japan's win over Germany one fan said: "Our heart is clean, so the stands must be clean. This means the team reaches its destiny."
If you're interested in the famous blue bin bags that the Japanese fans use, it was revealed that these are given out before the game. A fan said: "We distribute these bags to everyone who sits in the Japan fan seats. So when our team succeeds we can paint the area blue. To tidy and clean when we leave is a manifestation of our culture."
Japanese People and the Concept of Clean
Midori Mayama, a Japanese reporter in Qatar for the World Cup, said that fans collecting rubbish were a non-story back home.
"Nobody in Japan would report on this," she said, noting the same clean-up happens at Japanese professional baseball games. "All of this is so normal."
It may be normal to Japanese, but Alberto Zaccheroni, an Italian who coached Japan from 2010 to 2014, said it's not how most teams act when they travel.
"Everywhere in the world players take their kit off and leave it on the floor in the changing room. Then the cleaning staff come and collect it," he said. "Not the Japanese players. They put all the shorts on top of the other, all the pairs of socks, and all the jerseys."
A spokesperson for the Japanese Football Association said it's supplying 8,000 trash bags to help fans pick up after matches with "thank you" messages on the outside written in Arabic, Japanese, and English.
Barbara Holthus, a sociologist who has spent the last decade in Japan, said cleaning up after oneself is engrained in Japanese culture.
"You're always supposed to take your trash home in Japan because there are no trash cans on the street," said Holthus, the deputy director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies. "You clean your classroom. From a very young age, you learn you are responsible for the cleanliness of your own space."
Another Japanese fan else added: “It’s because we’re taught it by our parents and through education.”
Many ardent followers of the World Cup were surprised when they saw Japanese fans tidying after the match, which surprised Danno, who said: “What you think is special is actually nothing unusual for us.
“When we use the toilet, we clean it ourselves. When we leave a room, we make sure it’s tidy. That’s the custom.
“We can’t leave a place without making it clean. It’s a part of our education, everyday learning.”
Japanese supporters have stolen the headlines in Qatar for their heartwarming gesture of cleaning stadiums after the final whistle.
The gesture, which came to the fore in 2018, has become a tradition for the Japanese fans at the Mundial, earning them plaudits across the world.
Thank you, Japanese fans, for your beautiful and uplifting presence