Japan’s overwhelming victory over Germany left soccer fans in a state of joyful disbelief on Wednesday.
Now, supporters of Samurai Blue in Qatar deserve praise for an off-field tradition that seems uniquely Japanese: cleaning up stadiums after other soccer fans have left.
What is increasingly common is that Japanese fans have lagged behind after their team’s win against Germany on Wednesday and helped clean up the Khalifa International Stadium.
As soon as the stadium became empty, Japanese fans could be seen taking out light blue disposable trash bags and getting to work.
While the sight of onlookers staying behind to clean up might come as a surprise to many, it’s not unusual for the Japanese.
“What you think is special is actually nothing unusual for us,” Danno, a Japanese fan, told CNN Breaking News with a casual shrug.
Danno doesn’t understand why people think the gesture is odd.
Japanese fans are cleaning the stadium after they’ve just shocked the world.
I love the people and I definitely have a thing for Japan. pic.twitter.com/svgni2uuxc
— Joey H.rbog (@joeyharbog_) November 23, 2022
“When we use the toilet, we clean it ourselves. When we leave a room, we make sure it is tidy. That is the custom,” he explained.
“We can’t leave a place without cleaning it up. It is part of our education, of our daily learning.”
Days after the opening match of the tournament between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, social media posts featuring Japanese soccer fans with trash bags began the round.
You won’t be a #Muslim to clean up your trash behind you
Look at this amazing behavior of #Japanese fans, they clean up the studio behind them even when it’s not there, the game, not the country and not even their own trash
Wow health #Japan 🇯🇵 #qatar #qat #QatarWorldCup pic.twitter.com/sud1tmj1yf
— (@maljefairi) November 21, 2022
In a post, a man expresses his shock that a Japanese fan was cleaned at Al Bayt Stadium long after most spectators had left, and in a game in which the Japanese team could not be seen.
Samurai Blue fans have been cleaning up soccer stadiums for some time now. Even a loss doesn’t distract them from this important task after the game.
During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Japan lost their round of 16 to Belgium with a goal in added time. The Japanese fans were heartbroken, but that didn’t stop them from taking out their disposable trash bag and heading to work.
Saysuka, who spoke to CNN Breaking News ahead of the game against Germany, said she was aware that people are taking note of her tradition but noted that fans aren’t doing so for public reasons.
“Cleanliness and order are like religion for us in Japan and we really appreciate them,” she said before opening her backpack to show a pack of trash bags that she will use and hand out to others after the game.
Japan’s fans are truly the best.
They beat Germany in a famous win, but before they celebrated, they stuck at the Khalifa International Stadium to help clean up. 👏 pic.twitter.com/szhnexedqi
— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) November 23, 2022
Although the videos of Japanese people cleaning stadiums on social networks are still relatively new, order and organization are deeply rooted in Japanese culture. These traits are gaining a worldwide following through books and TV shows.
Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo is now a world-renowned name thanks to her books and a popular Netflix series on the subject.
Takshi, a Japanese soccer fan who lives in the United States but grew up in Japan, says he learned the tradition of order as a child.
“We had to clean our rooms, our bathrooms, and our classrooms, and when we grow up, it becomes part of our lives,” he said.
After Japan’s victory over Germany, Takshi and his 13-year-old son Kayde were left behind with their fellow supporters.
With Japan now three points on the table and two group games to go, fans and spectators can expect to be treated to more Japanese aesthetics on and off the soccer field.