Four years ago in Russia, Japanese fans wiped away their tears and cleaned up after themselves despite a heart-breaking 3-2 round of 16 loss to Belgium in extra-time.
The Blue Samurai fans were back in action at the Al-Bayt stadium in Doha, picking up the trash left by other supporters following Sunday night’s World Cup opener between Qatar and Ecuador.
This was despite Japan only beginning their World Cup campaign against Germany on Wednesday.
The Japanese in attendance were spotted by Bahraini Instagram influencer Omar Al-Farooq, who has 2.6 million followers on the platform.
They stayed behind after the final whistle to pick up discarded food wrappers and bottles from the stands.
When questioned by Al-Farooq, one of the fans reportedly said: “We are Japanese, and we do not leave rubbish behind us, and we respect the place.”
The Japanese also took extra care to set aside flags tossed away by Qatari and Ecuadorian fans, claiming the national flags “commanded respect”.
Such civic-mindedness is consistent with past outings at the World Cup.
Besides hauling huge rubbish bags around the Rostov Arena four years ago, the Japanese players also cleaned up after themselves.
Despite the disappointment of that defeat by Belgium, the team tidied up their locker room and even left a handwritten thank-you note, in Russian.