'The true heroes': World Cup releases tribute video to Japanese fans

FIFA celebrated Japanese football fans in a video highlighting their selfless attitudes and their unwavering support for Samurai Blue at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Japanese fans have made a significant impression on World Cup viewers, going viral multiple times for their habit of cleaning the stadiums after matches no matter whether their national team won or lost. Japan's players have proven to be equally respectful, having tidied up their own locker room after their upset victory over Germany, which an otter in Japan accurately predicted. The players left origami cranes behind with a "thank you" message in Japanese and Arabic and seem to have done so again after their loss against Croatia on Monday, this time with the head of the main crane held high.

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Posted on Twitter on Monday, Episode 1 of FIFA's "The Culture Club" series follows Arsenal presenter Daniyal Khan as he joins Samurai Blue superfan Akira Kohara in the stands to watch the national team.

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"Japan has won the hearts of people around the world, thanks to their incredible displays at this year's FIFA World Cup. But even more so, thanks to their fans," narrates Khan, who calls Japan's supporters "the true heroes, committed to blending passion and fire with honesty and integrity."

"Supporting the Japanese national team makes me proud to be Japanese and to have been born in Japan," Kohara says outside the stadium. "I will continue to proudly support the Japan team. Go, Japan!"

Shots from the stands show a sea of Japanese fans waving flags, beating on drums and chanting "Nippon" as they shake their fists in the air.

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“It doesn’t really seem to matter if they hit the post, make a bad challenge or lose the ball, the support doesn’t change, they keep going and they keep supporting their team,” says Khan as the chants continue.

Kohara attributes the attitude of Japanese fans to their upbringing, citing the country's education system and cultural values.

"We say in Japan, 'It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest,'" Kohara says. "We want to return what we used, cleaner than before we used it. Traditionally, many of us have that awareness. I think that consciousness showed up at this World Cup."

Twitter users likewise celebrated Japanese football fans in the comments, lamenting the team's elimination but remaining hopeful for their return.

"They’re indeed the greatest supporters, cleaning the stadium environment after every of their games," one user wrote.

"Thanks for the great memories. Japan have exceeded expectations and the fans are awesome. Hope they come back stronger in 4 years time!" another user commented.

 

Featured Image via FIFA