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Why Japanese football fans clean up stadiums at Qatar World Cup and inspire the world

2 min read

Better Society
Japan fan opruimen
Source: Twitter Koda Kazuhiro

The whole world has been impressed by the Japanese football fans in Qatar who clean up stadiums after the matches. However, few people know why the Japanese fans want to leave places behind cleaner than they found them.

Japanese set an example

The Japanese go crazy for football and are like a big blue army of supporters during the World Cup in Qatar. But except chanting on their team, they rejoice the world with another collective act in the stadium. After each match that they visit, the fans unite to clean up the stadium, leaving it cleaner than they found it. A class act that got recognised by the media and the world and inspires fans from other countries to join them.

Reaching the goal

One fan explained in the TikTok video of Aljazeera English (below) that it’s for ‘good karma’ and for the national team to reach the goal. “Our heart is clean, so the stands must be clean. This means the team reaches its destiny.” The Japanese team won their first match against Germany surprisingly with 2-1, but instead of straight-up leaving and celebrating, the fans cleaned up the stadium. They did the same after the lost match against Costa Rica (0-1). And even when other countries are playing, the attending Japanese fans tidy the place, putting a smile on the face of the hired stadium cleaners.


Why do Japanese football fans clean up after a match? @Sandra Gathmann asks the fans #QatarWorldCup2022 #FIFA #WorldCup #Qatar #Football #Qatar2022 #WorldCup2022 #Japan #cleaning #fans

♬ beat5 - trackmusika

It’s the symbolisation of good sportsmanship and camaraderie, both on the pitch and on the stands, according to Sandra Gathmann from AlJazeera. Though it is a competition to be the best football team in the world, the Japanese fans already won the price for respect.

‘Atarimae’ – common Japanese

While the world is fascinated by this class act of respect for people and place, it is nothing more than normal to the Japanese. “It’s culture, you know.” They get taught by their parents and at school to clean up their stuff and to leave a place cleaner than they found it. It is ‘atarimae‘, the common thing to do; a manifestation of their culture. Check out this BrightVibes article on Japanese schools where children learn to clean up their surroundings from a very young age.

Squad goals

Not only the Japanese fans left their place in the stadium tidy and cleaned up. After their surprise win against Germany, the Japanese squad decided to clean up the changing room, leaving it spotless. They folded their t-shirts and punt them next to the table. There was also left a note saying ‘thank you’ in both Japanese and Arabic, accompanied by 11 origami cranes, which express gratitude and spirit for the world cup football games in Qatar.

The Japanese fans inspire the rest of the world to clean up their rubbish at places they visit. We wish the team good luck in their final group stage game against Spain. Hopefully they can come far at the Qatar World Cup, but either way Japan is the champion of tidiness and respect.

Make an Impact

Clean up and take care of your surroundings

The Japanese get taught to better not make a mess if you are the one who has to clean it up again. That's why they leave places behind cleaner than they found them. An example for the world to take care of our surroundings.

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