The World Cup is finally back after a long four years, to the triumph and excitement of football fans worldwide.
The quadrennial football competition kicked off with a bang, in the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador.
Besides Qatar being the first-ever host country to lose its opening match, another intriguing phenomenon has caught the attention of fans in Qatar and around the world.
Japanese Fans Spotted Picking Up Trash After Opening Match
Qatar’s disappointing performance at the opening match led many of its fans to simply get up and leave the match midway.
Large amounts of trash and several Qatari flags were left behind in the stands.
However, once the match ended, many Japanese football fans sprung into action and started cleaning up the stadium with large trash bags in tow. Even Japanese children were spotted doing the same.
Even though it was not their country’s match, they picked up Qatari flags left behind on the floor and draped them over the seats as a show of respect.
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This awe-inspiring scene was documented by influencer Omar Farooq from Bahrain, who spoke to some of the fans and later posted a video of the process to Instagram. His recording was translated by Qatar Living.
Fans Act Out of Respect and Selflessness
Although Mr Farooq had heard of Japanese fans cleaning up stadiums, he admittedly didn’t believe it until he experienced it for himself.
He was shocked that it wasn’t just a few of them, but a rather large group of Japanese staying behind to pick up litter all around the stadium.
Upon asking one Japanese fan why they cleaned up when the match wasn’t related to them, she simply replied, “Japanese never leave rubbish behind us. We respect the place.”
When he clarified whether their actions were “for the cameras”, another fan affirmed that they were not.
Mr Farooq was simply blown away by their altruistic acts, and eagerly exclaimed, “It’s not even their match!”
He later offered to help the fans with their clean-up efforts and hugged some of them to show his appreciation.
Mr Farooq’s post went viral, garnering over 600,000 likes. Many netizens have left positive comments praising the selflessness of the Japanese.
Japanese Public Spiritedness is Not a New Sight
Previously, Japanese football fans had also been spotted cleaning up the stadium after their win against Columbia in the 2018 World Cup hosted by Russia.
Possibly inspired by the Japanese, fans from Senegal later began to do the same.
Even when their national team bowed out of the world cup that same year, Japanese fans stayed to clean up the litter left behind.
In 2014, Japanese fans also picked up litter in Singapore’s Sports Hub stadium after Japan lost a friendly match between Japan and Brazil. This drew praise and admiration from Singaporean football fans, and many admitted that Singaporeans should strive to do the same.
With public spiritedness and respect for their environment deeply rooted in Japanese culture, the gracious and selfless actions of the Japanese have caught international attention on many occasions.
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