Woe to any Japanese who disregards the World Cup


With the FIFA World Cup in full swing, people gathered throughout the nation to whoop, holler and groan as the Japanese national team was defeated 2-1 by Cote d'Ivoire in its first Group C match.

But the Fuji TV program "Tokudane" broadcast the day after the game, reports J-Cast News (June 16), also focused segments of its coverage on people who did not watch the game. Camera crews on the street approached people and posed the question, "Why aren't you watching the World Cup?" Some people reacted to this discriminatory treatment by posting objections on the Internet.

The "Tokudane" segment of June 15 led off with soccer, soccer and more soccer, with live feeds of crowds in front of JR Nakano Station and Ajinomoto Stadium in Chofu City, where the groups of excited fans were clad from head to foot in "Samurai Blue." The feed shifted to Shibuya, where passers-by clustered in front of TVs set up in a electronics department store. Others were shown walking while squinting at the game on their mobile phone screens.

Even after the game, complete strangers were shown greeting one another effervescently with "high fives" while crossing Shibuya's famous scramble crossing -- this despite Japan having lost.

Having run out of camera footage on this subject, the crews then turned to asking people what they were doing if they hadn't watched the game. After all, despite the 51.5% audience viewer rating for Japan in its game one of the previous World Cup, it made sense to investigate what the minority was doing if they weren't watching. So the TV crew began flagging down pedestrians and asking.

"Do I have to be watching TV?" one fellow wearing a jersey with what appeared to be the national colors retorted, insisting the color of his garment was coincidental. And to the question "Do you know what today is?" another hapless pedestrian scratched his head and replied "It's Father's Day, isn't it?"

Then the program narrator remarked, "And even though the game's being broadcast, here's a dating couple," who he then asked, "Do you know what's happening right now?" "Eh? Now? No, what is it?" replied the girl indifferently. Another couple, strolling in Yoyogi Park, were confronted by the crew and asked "Is there any particular reason why you're not watching the game?" The two turned out to be history buffs and had been visiting NHK to learn about the current Sunday evening "Taiga Drama," "Kuroda Kambei," which they happened to be more interested in than the World Cup.

Another crew flagged down a male jogger, who was running bare-chested, along the banks of the Tama River. This was followed by middle school students at a game of "go" tournament, and a woman who was putting decorations on wind chimes. None of them expressed the least bit of interest in the tournament.

Fuji TV's coverage managed to set off some grumbles via Twitter.

"'Tokudane' is claiming that people who don't watch the Japanese team in action are going against the flow," said one. "Is not watching really such a bad thing?"

"More than feeling upset, I'm aghast. It's like they're suggesting people who don't watch are unpatriotic," remarked another.

"People have the freedom to watch or not to watch, so leave it be already, will you?" a third objected. "Do people absolutely have to watch soccer? Is not watching some kind of crime?"

J-Cast News didn't confine its complaints just to Fuji TV, however. On the "Sukkiri" program on rival NTV, it seems a live feed showed a reporter falling in step with people who were jogging around the imperial palace, where he brayed out to them, "Japan is losing to Ivory Coast!"

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One of the things that I like about Japan is that you don't have to pretend to be interested in professional sports. You don't usually get any blowback from telling people you have better things to do than watching grown men playing childrens games.

5 ( +14 / -8 )

We are surviving just fine changing the channel.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

You don't usually get any blowback from telling people you have better things to do than watching grown men playing childrens games.

Good observation. You can be a man in Japan and not be viewed with suspicion for not having a passionate interest or opinion about sport. It is a hobby like any other. Good for you if you like it, but no sense of inadequacy for not knowing every player in the English Premier League.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

You have absolutely every right to not be interested in professional sports. But there is no reason to insult it either by comparing it to "childrens games". Sports and professional athletes have always been of significance in most cultures worldwide, they were often part of military training. Just because children can also play certain sports does not make them "childrens games". Ithink it's wrong to shame people for not having interest in sports, but what you did is just as bad.

7 ( +12 / -6 )

The creepy behavior of this TV crew is all too typical. I have been approached by TV creeps like these who asked stupid personal questions. Why you are not watching whatever is no one else's business. It is like missionaries asking you why you are not a Christian. Fortunately, they do not carry around TV cameras.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I should clarify. There is absolutely nothing I enjoy more than being outdoors in the fresh air playing sports and getting excercise.

But there is nothing I enjoy less than sitting on my sofa or in a sports bar watching incredibly wealthy grown men playing sports or talking about the scores the next day, whether they are childrens games or not.

I think most of the people in this article feel the same way. They have nothing against sports, they just dont like watching it on TV.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Nakamahazure for non-conformists? Nothing new there.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Did the players know these people weren't watching ? Would they even care ?

Even if it was "one of" my countries playing, I certainly wouldn't waste my time watching grown men running after a little ball...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I have watched goals getting kicked on TV news clips, but I've never actually watched an entire soccer game from beginning to end. And even if my own country's team were to make it to the final, I doubt if I would watch, even if the match were broadcast during prime time on a weekend evening. And I'd love to be approached by a TV camera crew and asked about my complete lack of interest, so I could tell them and their viewers 全く興味ない (mattaku kyomi nai)!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

For me, watching the 2 min clips on FIFA's website is enough - all the goals and best shots condensed into a short clip - and then I can go back to work and get on with my life. Sure doesn't help people here when the matches are going on in the early hours of morning.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Woe to those who aren't part of group-think in this country.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"Proud to be sheep!! Why are your wool is red ? You trying to be different ? You think you're better than me ? bla, bla, bla, ..."

2 ( +5 / -3 )

My father in-law couldn't give a rats arse about Japanese soccer God bless him . I try to get him into it but he only likes baseball, golf and sumo. He is only interested in his grandkids' soccer.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japanese tv is ran by hapless idiots anyway..

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Well, they should go and interview the whole island of Okinawa, no one, hardly, does ANYTHING but baseball.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

But Okinawa isn't really considered part of Japan. Not really. Not if the news caster shouted, "Japan is losing to Ivory Coast!” I would have replied, "That is why I'm not watching!" " Watching Samurai Blue just makes me blue!"

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Why would I be interested in watching a bunch of overpaid prima-donnas rolling around on the floor in pretend agony every time an opponent comes within a metre of them? (that's not really aimed at Japan, but some other countries).

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I remember Fuji TV from when I had Japanese TV. Its stupidity stands out even in a very competitive field. It seems nothing much has changed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Mmm, quality Japanese television. Coloful decor and paper strips covering words to be revealed...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

People who are obsessed with TV sports do not know the joy of sex. Or the joy of any physical endeavor. There is nothing more pathetic than a bunch people slouched over their third rate beers and cruddy potato chips in some so-called sports bar drunkenly cheer on cue when there teams scores and lamenting on cue when their team does not score. I'd rather go for a long walk with no set purpose.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

M3M3M3: "You don't usually get any blowback from telling people you have better things to do than watching grown men playing childrens games."

Agree with you to an extent, and I think that this show was being too aggressive and I say kudos to those who answered back that they weren't watching because they don't care. If they don't want to, there is no way they should feel obligated to. Worse than this TV show's assertion that everyone should care, though, is the fact that so many people who only care about winning and reputation and not the sport are now saying they wasted their time this morning and last Sunday, and they might not watch the game against Columbia because Japan will probably lose. Half of these people probably already have the jerseys they bought hidden in the closet.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Perhaps the 'minority' who wasn't watching the game were either not interested, had more important things to do or both of those. I haven't watched any of the world cup because I don't like Football. And if given the choice of watching something I dislike or spending time with my family. I know which option I'd pick out of those 2.

So I don't know why these camera crews though it was their business to ask people why they weren't watching a bunch of men kicking a ball around on some grass.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Questioning people about watching their country's national team play an international game comes across to me as actually questioning peoples' patriotism and national identity, as if by not watching you weren't patriotic or nationalistic enough. The damnable fifth column!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

My sister wrote, "If I wanted to watch people try and score for 90 minutes and fail, I'd just take my friends to a bar".... I had to laugh at that keen observation.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

hey on bright side for those sick of the overbearing wave of Blue, the World Cup will be "over" in Japan on Wednesday, when Colombia beats Japan. The wall to wall coverage will end, and a huge number of people will stop caring. Fairweather fans? rather like "blueweather" fans!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For myself, I usually am uninterested in watching professional sports. The World Cup of Soccer, on the other hand, is another matter; the games are a lot of fun to watch. If, however, someone else is not watching, I can live with that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why watch a sport that ends in a draw? whats the point if someone is not going to go the extra distance and score the winning point.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Anything that have a massive support (sport, fashion, religion, saving something, etc.), makes me uneasy... One step short of mass hysteria kind of thing and I don't like it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like watching the football on tv but unless it's my local team or my country playing I have it on mute, with some music instead because the commentary does my head in, especially in Japanese "ne?" "sou des ne" and all together now "neeeeeee" .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Considering the corruption, theft, loss of sovereignty, discrimination,waste and twisting of legal principles involved in staging this disgrace, I think the finger should point the other way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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