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The boys from Brazil

49 Comments

Japanese national soccer team players arrive at Narita International Airport on Friday afternoon after their disappointing group-stage exit at the World Cup in Brazil.

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49 Comments
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The folks gathered must be fans of their hair or something, because there would be no reason to travel all the way to Narita to cheer their performance.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

Because real fans aren't only fans when you win.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Go straight to respective school/work-place/ward office for 'Hokoku Maeri" (to report outcome).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Because real fans aren't only fans when you win.

No, but it would be nice. 0-1-2 -- with only two goals -- given all the hype has to be disappointing to even the most die-hard fan.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@jerseyboy

Sadly for you, Japan got the best fans any team can wish for ,and thats fangirls :) . And for the result, what is football ? Its a game, so chill pout , they lost in game, so what ? And dont start with fanboy argue of how game must be won , pls, dont be boring .

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Doesn't look like soccer fans more than fans of the boys.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@ jerseyboy - Tru dat

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Home before the post cards arrive....

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Better luck next time, boys! Next is AFC 2015 Asian Cup in Australia, prepare by then.

GO SAMURAI BLUE!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Here comes the muffed-up blues.

Maybe, it’s time to lick the wounds and acknowledge: there is a world difference between good players and great players. Hype won't be able create a world-class team.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

And again, they show no respect for their fans. No smile or wave at them, no signing of autographs. But wait, they don't have to do that, they play at AC Milan, Manchester United, etc. I saw pictures from the Korean Team leaving, total oposite, smiling and waving to their fans.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

I saw this on NHK last nite, cripes, what a somber bunch.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

they show no respect for their fans

No. They just don't think they deserve this welcome. They are punishing themselves.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Sadly for you, Japan got the best fans any team can wish for ,and thats fangirls :) .

Nenad -- no, sadly for Japan they have fans only of Japan Soccer -- they are not true soccer fans. And, as you and others have pointed out, most are girls who just have a school-girl crush on individual members of the team. Just like they do other male celebs. These same gals would show up for Tom Cruise or Bae Yong-joon. But if it floats your boat to tell yourself that makes them the "best fans", go for it.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

those numbers could be 10X too bad

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Poor performance indeed, but they still deserve a pat on the back.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What strikes me about the picture is how none of the players are even looking at, waving to, smiling at, thanking their fans. Pretty cold response. I guess they take for granted that their fans will show up at the airport.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I hope the players gave their fans a warmer response than what I can see in this photo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tinawatanabeJun. 28, 2014 - 09:44AM JST they show no respect for their fans "No. They just don't think they deserve this welcome. They are punishing themselves"

Yes, you are right. It's Japanese mentality in a sense. And Japanese fans know exactly what the players are feeling. In fact, Japanese media is not criticizing their attitude at the airport.

@Andreas Zachcial, @M3M3M3, if they did as you say, they might have been rather criticized, I'm afraid.

.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@virgo98

I understand the whole 'hang your heads in shame' mentality, but you can see some kids in the crowd. It would have been decent to acknowledge them rather than look down or away.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The Boys from Brazil...Japanese national soccer team players = i think they are referring to "Samurai Blue" - JFA (!)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@viirgo98 - is that the uniquely unique understanding that only Japanese have? I think it is a SHAME they do not acknowledge their fans.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

virgo98JUN. 28, 2014 - 11:00AM JST Japanese media is not criticizing their attitude at the airport

And why would the media stop putting a 'iiwake' for these boys after all the hype they put on them... I certainly wouldn't call those that throw a bag on their shoulder, stick a hand in the pocket and walk through casually and claim them as punishing themselves. If they were, I would expect them to hang down their head and give a few bow as to acknowledge the fans that came all the way to greet them as couple of them have done; like you said, waving and smiling would've been criticized but totally ignoring is 'shiturei' too.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

They seem to be totally oblivious to their fans - are they even acknowledging them?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ha ha, a guy at the back is taking a picture of the ceiling!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here is a video of the incident. It is probably 10 times worse than I imagined from the still photo. You can sort of tell that they agreed ahead of time that they would ignore the fans. Zaccheroni at least had the decency to give a little wave.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqUInjcMTss

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If anything, they should be lucky to have such a reception from their fans because they would have been in a very legitimate position to display an angrier reaction to their arrival.

I say that because I still have a clear memory in mind of 2006 where a number of Brazilian supporters gave their team the middle finger and shouted a fair share of discontent outside of their hotel after they lost to France in the quarter-finals. Yes, you aren't mistaken: for losing in the quarterfinals, Brazilian players were told by their own to get lost in disgrace.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@jerseyboy Sadly for you, Japan got the best fans any team can wish for ,and thats fangirls sadly fans dont win games, players do. if they weve paid on there performance they should be getting no bonus and a pay cut. but lets not be boring about it hey.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They have all the reasons to feel bad. Individually, current Japanese players, are as competitive as any other player around the globe. However, as a team they...well, they are not a team.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

M3M3M3Jun. 28, 2014 - 12:51PM JST Here is a video of the incident. It is probably 10 times worse than I imagined from the still photo. You can sort of tell that they agreed ahead of time that they would ignore the fans. Zaccheroni at least had the decency to give a little wave

I saw the video, but I do not see your point. As least, the fans at the airport do not seem to be thinking like you, ie. to be ignored by them.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@virgo98

The fans came to cheer and thats what they are going to do. But that boy in the photo might feel a bit disappointed on the long trip back from the airport when he asks his mother why they didn't even try to sign his shirt. Of course this is all tatemae for the cameras. The players surely weren't sulking once they got into their cars/mori helicopter back to Tokyo.

More broadly, this counter-productive shaming of failure is why no-one ever takes any risks (in business etc.). It's like a cultural cancer eating away at society.

Just a reminder, 96.875% of teams will end up being losers at the World Cup. This was inevitable unless you actually thought they would win the tournament.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Individually, current Japanese players, are as competitive as any other player around the globe. However, as a team they...well, they are not a team.

You seem to have it backwards. At least in my point of view, and in Honda's (he recently said they were lacking individually).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They look so cool and so handsome. They hold their heads up high, and are definitely very aware of their fans. Well done, Samurais! See you in four years.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

The players surely weren't sulking once they got into their cars/mori helicopter back to Tokyo.

I think they were devastated and crying on the way to Tokyo. Leave them alone.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

But that boy in the photo might feel a bit disappointed on the long trip back from the airport when he asks his mother why they didn't even try to sign his shirt.

Tough luck for the kid, but if the parents got his hopes up that is their fault. Now is not a time for them to be acting like heroes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A true champion is always gracious even in defeat. These arrogant bunch of boys dissing their fans like that just show how much a loser they really are....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@M3M3M3

If I were his mother, I would say to him that, although he might have been disappointed, just try to understand they were feeling very embittered. (Honestly speaking, this might be the most humiliation for them, though. )

Sorry, but I don't understand why you are so upset about their attitude.

Ohkubo had thought that they would receive bashing at the airport, but the situation was as the above. So, I am thinking now that their attitude was something from just embarrassment. They just didn't know what to react. This is just my guess though.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Gokurosama deshita. Okaeri nasai.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@virgo98

I hope we agree that the players should not be, and do not actually feel genuinely humiliated? They did their best against pretty tough competition. They are just required by the culture to pretend they are. It's just a show.

Here is why is annoys me: The mother will tell the boy that because the team failed to win, they must act very disappointed and ashamed. From this moment, the boy will understand that in Japanese culture, you must act ashamed and hide away when you fail at something, even at an almost impossible task. To avoid such a situation of being required to show your shame, the boy will never attempt anything that might result in failure, and his life will be very limited because of it. This sums up Japan in a nutshell.

Anyone who would criticise the players for waving to their younger fans is taking themselves and the game too seriously.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

therougou: "Tough luck for the kid, but if the parents got his hopes up that is their fault."

Depends. If the parents said, "These guys just lost it all for our nation after some said they would win the whole thing, so don't be upset," then okay. But if these players are going to treat their fans -- and these are their only fans, showing up when the performance was so bad -- like these, the players may as well just unzip and pee on the fans while holding their hands out for more money. I know it's hard that they lost, and I know they must feel the gravity of the loss especially given the media attention and predictions, but take a minute... and if that means tears, share them with the people who supported them. This was sick. I still say they deserve a pat on the back for their efforts on the field, but they deserve a red card for their people skills upon being sore losers.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This thread is very interesting. While all the commentators here are criticizing what to the Western eye looks like the team's lack of basic manners, the comments in Japanese underneath the youtube video of the homecoming (link in an above post) are very different.

Japanese net posters are in general criticizing not the players, but the fans. The typical comment is "the players are returning home downcast after losing. Look at all the female fans screaming at them like they are pop stars despite their despondency. They should not be so insensitive".

This is followed by a load more complaints about the screaming female fans who don't really understand football and simply treat the players like celebrities.

The problem here is that no-one will live and let live. Everyone is determined that someone should behave in a certain way in a certain situation. People feel there need to be rules governing behavior, even if we are not sure exactly what those rules are. When everyone is criticizing everyone else for their behavior, people try to act in a certain way to avoid criticism, but just end up sparking more criticism from other parties since their was no unanimous agreement on the rules in the first place.

Maybe the solution is that, unless someone's personal safety or well-being is at stake, we should just stop trying to demand other people behave just how we would like them too.

The screaming fans are pretty annoying though : )

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@jpn_guy

When everyone is criticizing everyone else for their behavior, people try to act in a certain way to avoid criticism, but just end up sparking more criticism from other parties since their was no unanimous agreement on the rules in the first place. Maybe the solution is that, unless someone's personal safety or well-being is at stake, we should just stop trying to demand other people behave just how we would like them too.

Very good points and I agree. I wonder if you think that if the players were free to behave how they wanted to, would they have interacted and engaged with the fans? I think that would be a more universal human reaction.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Talking about japanese culture and they must behave like this because they are japanese,.... excuse me but this is just blah blah blah. They behaved exact the same way when they left for Brazil. The japanese mass media put them up so high that they might feel like superstars. At least they should have the decency and make an apology to the supporters for their performance in Brazil. But it's always the same with the japanese national team, talking about reaching semi final (Honda) and things like this. They never achieved anything at a World Cup. They got lucky in SA, winning against Denmark with two freekicks. Otherwise; just talking, nothing else.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@smithinjapan

This was sick. I still say they deserve a pat on the back for their efforts on the field, but they deserve a red card for their people skills upon being sore losers.

That's a bit harsh, no? The fact is the media hyped them up way too much, and now they feel like complete losers. And given the majority of "fans" there were just screaming girls that like how they look, its understandable that they felt they didn't deserve to "celebrate" with them.

The funny thing is, as bad as Japan played, if Okubo scores his sitter against Greece, they may have advanced to a match against Costa Rica, and then anything could have happened. As it is, its probably better they lost so they can work on what went wrong and (hopefully) come back stronger.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

if the players were free to behave how they wanted to, would they have interacted and engaged with the fans?

No. I don't think they wanted to see the fans.

I think that would be a more universal human reaction

There is no universal reaction in this kind of things.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@tinawatanabe

There is no universal reaction in this kind of things.

Of course I'm not a celebrity or famous athlete, but I think if I was greeted by supporting fans at the airport who invested their own time and money to come welcome me home and cheer me up after I lost, I would be touched by their gesture of human kindness and at least acknowledge them. Is that not a basic human value? I'm sure they wanted to do this but their PR people would not allow it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

M3M3M3 You're not listening to any of the posters above who're defending the players' attitude. Anyway the airport is in Japan, the players are Japanese, the fans are Japanese, no Japanese are criticizing the players. So, why bother?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@tinawatanabe

I am listening to the defenders of the players attitudes and so I completely understand why the players would choose to act in such a way based on the cultural pressures they feel in Japan. I'm saying that the failure shaming aspect of Japanese culture is something we should do away with.

It bothers me because I'm very interested in the benefits that come from risk taking/failure and the cultural attitudes towards it. Japan shames failure to the point that people avoid it at all costs. This hasn't worked well for corporate Japan over the past decade. The fact that this is Japan doesn't mean we can't change for the better.

At this rate it wouldn't surprise me if in 4 years Japan didn't even try out for the World Cup in order to avoid any regrettable uncomfortable feelings it might cause if the national team were to lose again.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

M3 It's not like what you think.

The players are in great pain, so we have to respect their feelings. Japanese are criticizing the fun's attitude because the funs were not compassionate to the players.

I think the soccer kids in the crowd were simply happy to see them, and they understand the players' attitude because they're players too.

I saw Nagatomo slightly bow, so other players could have bowed somewhere too. I don't think the players could think of acting like heroes with the result of 4th place of the group.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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