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Japanese fans clean up stadium after World Cup victory and inspire other nations to follow suit
June 21, 2018, 12:26 pm

Fastidious Japanese fans took a brief break from celebrating a historic and shock World Cup victory over Colombia to clean up rubbish discarded on the floor of the stadium, earning them praise and inspiring other nations to follow suit. 

Following the unfancied side’s 2-1 victory over their South American opponents, the diligent fans were filmed putting plastic cups, bottles, cardboard and food waste left scattered below the stadium’s eye-catching acid orange seats into blue bin bags.

The fans, draped in Japanese flags and scarves, were filmed sweeping the stands of the 44,000-seat, bowl-shaped Mordovia Arena, where just a few minutes earlier they had wildly celebrated an unexpected victory over José Pékerman’s side, quarter-finalists in 2014.

A number of clips capturing the post-match clean-up, after the majority of fans had left the stadium, were posted and shared on social media, earning the Japanese supporters widespread praise and high fives from the few remaining Colombia supporters, sporting the nation’s striking yellow colours.

One impressed fan described the efforts of the Japanese as his “favourite moment of the World Cup so far”, while another added it was an impeccable example of fan behaviour at the tournament. 

Japanese fans have a reputation for tidiness having previously stayed behind to clean up after themselves after a 2-1 defeat to Ivory Coast at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Meanwhile, in the day’s later kick-off, Senegal fans were also applauded for following the example set by Japan’s fans by cleaning up after their side’s 2-1 victory over Poland.

The politeness and cleanliness of the Japanese fans did not come as a surprise for some, especially for those who have experienced walking the Far East nation’s spotless streets first-hand.

“This is great to see but not a surprise,” tweeted one. “I went to Japan for work in 2016 ... fabulous place ... wonderful people.

“If you have not been do visit Japan it is an inspiringly beautiful place.”

“Japanese culture at its best,” commented another.

Cleanliness is an important part of Japanese culture, a country which boasts one of the highest recycling rates on the planet.

Scott North, professor of sociology at Osaka University, specialising in how work and the division of labour shape modern Japanese society, told the BBC it is a habit ingrained from childhood.

He explained that cleaning up after football matches is “an extension of basic behaviours that are taught in school, where the children clean their school classrooms and hallways”.

In many public schools, children do much of the cleaning at the end of each day, a 20-minute routine known as o-soji.

On the pitch, Japan defied the odds to earn Asia's first-ever World Cup win over South American opposition and the nation’s first World Cup victory on European soil against the ten men of Colombia after Carlos Sanchez was dismissed for handball less than three minutes into the game.

Source: Telegraph

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