Japanese fans explain why they clean stadiums after matches

Jake Massey

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Japanese fans explain why they clean stadiums after matches

Featured Image Credit: @jacobsben/Twitter

Japanese supporters have been earning the admiration of football fans by cleaning up after matches at the World Cup - but why do they do it?

The nation's fans have a form for tidiness at international football tournaments, and the World Cup in Qatar has proven no different.

Watch them explain why they do it here:

Japan fans have been collecting litter at matches they aren't even competing in, so Al Jazeera decided to ask supporters why exactly they do it.

"Our heart is clean, so the stands must be clean. This means the team reaches its destiny," one fan said after their stunning 2-1 win over Germany.

A number of fans also referenced the word 'atarimae', which translates to 'stating the obvious'.

Another fan 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."

Someone else added: "It's because we're taught it by our parents and through education."

While one fan who carried blue plastic bags to hand out to fellow supporters explained: "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."

They aim to leave stadia cleaner than they found them. Credit: Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo
They aim to leave stadia cleaner than they found them. Credit: Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo

"It's not just part of the football culture but part of Japanese culture," Japan-based football journalist Scott McIntyre told the BBC in 2018.

"You often hear people say that football is a reflection of culture. An important aspect of Japanese society is making sure that everything is absolutely clean and that's the case in all sporting events and certainly also in football."

Japan fans have history when it comes to tidying rubbish on the footballing world stage.

Japan stunned Germany in their opening game. Credit: Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo
Japan stunned Germany in their opening game. Credit: Aflo Co. Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo

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.

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.

They got their campaign in Qatar off to the perfect start with a win over Germany. They face Costa Rica in their second match in Group E on Sunday (26 November).

Topics: News, Sport, Football

Jake Massey
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