RENNES, France. - Normally it wouldn’t be uncommon to find tons of food waste accumulated in the stands at a stadium during the World Cup, most likely spilled after celebrating a goal, or angrily reacting to a crushing defeat.
Fans of Japan’s women’s soccer team had every reason to celebrate after a 2-1 victory sweep over Scotland on Friday, but the sweeping didn’t stop there.
After the game, “Samurai Blue” supporters swept trash and cleaned rows and seats in the stadium, and of course, the internet went wild over it.
“This is class from Japan's fans!,” read one tweet, showing dedicated fans of team Japan staying after their victory to clean up trash.
And Friday wasn’t the first time Japan fans won praise for going above and beyond to keep things tidy. During the men's 2018 World Cup, another video went viral of Japan supporters staying after their opening match victory against Columbia to clean up.
“This is my favourite moment of the World Cup so far; Japan fans picking up litter after their victory vs Columbia. The lessons in life we can take from the game,” wrote Twitter user Christopher McKaig, who posted a video showing dedicated supporters of team Japan equipped with large trash bags leaving the place spotless.
This is my favourite moment of the World Cup so far; Japan fans picking up litter after their victory vs Columbia. The lessons in life we can take from the game. Why I support 🇯🇵 #class✅#respect✅#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/FyYLhAGDbi— Christopher McKaig (@Coachmckaig) June 19, 2018
But Japan fans took it a step further when, after a heartbreaking round 16 loss to Belgium in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they still stayed after the game to complete their ritual cleanup. And it wasn’t only the fans — the Japanese men’s team cleaned their own locker room and even left a thank you note in Russian for their hosts after the crushing defeat.
But the Japanese weren’t the only ones cleaning up after themselves that year.
Another video on Twitter went viral during the 2018 men's World Cup showing Senegal fans also cleaning up before leaving the stadium.
“Senegal fans cleaning their section before leaving the stadium after their historic victory against Poland. This is class,” reads the tweet.
Senegal fans cleaning their section before leaving the stadium after their historic victory against Poland. This is class.— The Futbol Page (@TheFutbolPage) June 19, 2018
The best thing you will see today. 👏🇸🇳 pic.twitter.com/IBINok3PQE
While Senegal fans are also keeping their seats clean, Japanese fans are famous for it, and even losing won't stop them from cleaning up after themselves.
2018 in Russia and 2019 in France...— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 14, 2019
Japan fans are still awesome 🇯🇵👏 pic.twitter.com/Gfzk6stHmn
"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-based football journalist Scott McIntyre told the BBC.
McIntyre says it’s not uncommon for Japanese people to tap foreigners on the shoulder indicating they should clean up or take the trash home.
"I know it may sound bland and boring, but this is the reality of a country that's built on respect and politeness," he laughs. "And this simply extends to doing respectful things in football."
Watch it on FOX
Watch the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on FOX from June 7 through July 7.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.