Although more hardcore Japanophiles might prefer to think that people in Japan watch sumo every other day and practice kendo or karate on the weekends, without a shadow of a doubt, Japan’s most popular spectator sports are football and baseball. With the former becoming increasingly popular since the ’90s, football (or “sakkaa“) fans are as numerous as they are vocal, and yet with football considered a much more family oriented spectator sport in Japan than in some Western countries, entire families with small kids or groups of pretty twenty-something girls are just as common sights at matches as grown men with painted faces holding cups of beer.
This week, fans of the sport have taken to online message boards to express their surprise and amusement at the level of vitriol and anger behind a parody video that appeared on YouTube in December last year calling for David Moyes, the current manager of England’s Manchester United, to resign.
The former Everton manager picked up the baton at Manchester United in July last year, but since then the once great team’s performance on the field has been far from stellar, despite having a technically strong (and incredibly costly) squad. Former manager Sir Alex Ferguson has appealed to fans to give Moyes a chance to find his feet, but many are calling for the new manager to leave and are understandably desperate to see their side perform as they once did.
The video started doing the rounds here in Japan late last week, and has been causing quite a stir amongst football fans.
It would be wrong to suggest that Japanese fans are not as passionate as their European counterparts – there are plenty of diehard supporters that spend most of their waking hours thinking, talking and arguing about the sport – but a visit to virtually any big game in Japan would likely surprise football fans from Europe. While the sight of an overweight man in a tight-fitting football shirt yelling obscenities at the players, referee or managers is far from rare in countries like this writer’s native UK, Japanese spectators are altogether more placid and take defeat with far more grace and humility. There are plenty of cheers, gasps, shouts and cries to be heard during a typical match, but chants of things like “the referee’s a wanker” are a rarity in Japan, and the general atmosphere is usually more “G” than PG13 or R-rated.
It’s perhaps for that reason that Japanese football fans were not just amused but rather shocked at the ferocity of the above video, which has recently been shared with tremendous frequency and received hundreds of comments such as:
LOL What the hell is this? That dude’s so tone-deaf it hurt my ears. This is an “official” song!? WTF Nice cross. OK, that’s pretty funny.
Poor old David. Your team’s supporters’ lack of love for you has officially become known on the opposite side of the world.
Source: Football Net
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