Japan Today
world cup

Japanese supporters' habit of cleaning up at World Cup spreads to other countries


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.


©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

First of all, cleanliness is not something unique to Japan, nor is taking off your shoes when enter somebody's home. In fact, The Senegalese fans were the first group to cleanup after their game in the World Cup 2018. The Japanese fans did it later that night.

Senegal And Japan Fans Stayed Behind To Clean Up After Their World Cup Wins


-6 ( +18 / -24 )

If this caught on globally with sports fans would be a good thing.

15 ( +23 / -8 )

@Silvafan, maybe not this worldcup but Japan did this already a few years ago. Anyway who cares who the first country is to clean up. Its a good trend and hope it spreads more.

19 ( +27 / -8 )

Ever been to beach in Japan, or 10meters from the rubbish bins in a Japanese combini car park?

-4 ( +16 / -20 )

Japan is not quite spotless—especially if you know where to look. There are plenty of cigarette butts where smokers hang out, and if you visit beaches during the summer trash cans will be overflowing as Japanese have a habit of picnicking and eating at the beach. By comparison, Hawaii and Seattle beaches are much cleaner.

-6 ( +15 / -21 )

Japanese people are quite often good at hiding their messiness. Japanese often will not let foreigners into their homes because their homes can be a mess, especially with little kids in the house. For some reason, I had to show up at a J couple’s home one time, and the kids were running around, toys were all over the floor, the usual. They were visibly embarrassed at the fact that I saw this messy house, but it didn’t bother me. That’s what happens when you have a couple of toddlers.

I was at another home and the older woman there did not want me to use her bathroom because she thought I’d judge her on the fact that it was a bit untidy. I could really care less, but they tend to have a thing about how others see them.

-4 ( +14 / -18 )

There are many food establishments in Tokyo that have tiny cockroaches crawling the walls. And ceilings, floors and sometimes tables. A situation that would get a restaurant in the US closed down is par for the course in many places in Asia. Including Japan.

In addition, last time I read about it, Tokyo had about 11 health inspectors total for a city of tens of millions of people.

I got food poisoning at one place in Tokyo, a large Denny’s type restaurant, that just about knocked me over and started me on a downhill slope as far as my health. A housemate also got sickened at a vegetarian restaurant in Tokyo. I ate some potato salad at one place in the Yokohama area and found a used bandaid in it. A couple of fruit flies were found at the bottom of another plate of food I had somewhere else. I once got some ebi sushi and the ebi was dirty. As in not cleaned. You know what uncleaned shrimp are like, don’t you? I had picked up the ebi from the sushi to put some wasabi under it and discovered a black mess.

On the other hand, upon returning to the US I read about a J guy who was opening a sushi bar in my area and he commented that he was happy to be in a country that had high standards for restaurant cleanliness. So go figure.

-5 ( +14 / -19 )

One more thing, the kids at one of the colleges I worked at would often trash the student lounge, leave garbage all over, cigarette butts on the floor and burn holes in the seating with the cigs. The smoking in there was so bad that the windows turned brown. I am not exaggerating. If you want to see something similar, visit Shonan beach during the busy season.

So I think it comes down to cleanliness via actual scientific method (like washing your hands thoroughly) vs. some magical cultural cleanliness myth that the Japanese seem to have about themselves. The former is the only method that is trustworthy.

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

One only needs visit some homes. The stark difference is atrocious. It's also rather telling where ones psyche is at if they care more about an external appearance. Charity does start at home after all.

-15 ( +7 / -22 )

It's great that the Japanese fans clean up after the game. It really is. However, in and of itself, it does not prove anything else about Japanese people, least of all Nihonjinron style guff like the following.

In Japan, cleaning is almost revered as a spiritual practice from the time children are young.

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

Bottom up soft diplomacy.

And it seems to be working.

But litter and so on in Japan, same old same old.

But who is going to clean up the stadiums in the Tokyo Olympics? Probably not you.

-18 ( +5 / -23 )

Just don’t litter. Problem solved. Nobody will need (and get) to clean up then.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

No good!

This will eliminate cleaning jobs!

Leave the cleaning part to those who are hired to do it!

3 ( +10 / -7 )

I get it. It's great that the Japanese team and supporters have cleaned up after themselves at World Cups. It's a fantastic example to set for others. However, the idea that 'cleanliness' is unique to Japan is just silly, saying more about Japanese ethnocentrism than it being 'a spiritual practice.'

"In Japan, we have a saying that you leave a place cleaner than when you came,"

Hmm. Where have I heard that saying before? Oh, that's right. Everywhere else.

"I'm confident that picking up garbage will firmly take root overseas

Your confidence is well-founded. People overseas have been picking up garbage for many, many years.

Students, in fact, develop a custom of cleaning their schools from an early age. This is in stark contrast with many Western countries where generally cleaning is left to sanitation workers, experts say.

Sanitation workers who do a far better job in my opinion. Having attended schools both here and overseas.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

The haters just cannot accept any great news about Japanese behavior and society.

Netizens have been unanimous in their praise of the Japanese fans. Keep it up!

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

If you dirty your own yard, you don't necessarily need to clean on the same day. But if you dirty other person's yard, you need to clean immedietely on the same day.

3 ( +6 / -3 )


No matter how much one disdains the Japanese, but to pretend that the Senegalese "taught" the Japanese to clean the stadium, by "cleaning earlier" is just taking the Michael!!!

Also, Senegal's game preceded Japan's; so what else did you expect?

Senegalese ONLY started cleaning at this WC; we're in 2018. Senegalese have never cleaned up anywhere they went prior to this WC.

Japan fans have been doing this since 1998.

Do the math and then tell me who did it first! Not that matter anyway.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

I hope foreign people (in Japan and overseas) and all Nations take note and make their cities clean too. Well done Samurai Blue fans, WELL DONE!!

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

This article is the usual nihonjinron nationalist nonsense that seems so prevalent these days here, 'Japanese are so clean, the foreign barbarians can learn from us' The 'Japan is so unique myth' .

In fact the Japanese are some of the messiest people I have met. Go to a Japanese persons house and it is stacked full of clutter, not only that, people flytip in the bamboo forest near me here. It's out of sight so doesnt matter it seems...

This cleaning up stadiums is a total Public relations stunt. .... and don't get me started on the way the kids here are forced to clean up schools for free

6 ( +11 / -5 )

judging by the amount of downvotes the people here are getting who are actually talking sense confirms the amount of nationalists on this forum. Ready to jump on anyone who doesn't tow the nihonjinron line.... i hope i get 100 downvotes

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Yeah, next they'll be saying Singapore got it's incredibly clean downtown area from Japanese habits. Sorry, but Japan is not, and never has been, the only nation to pick up after itself. It's pretty much the only nation I know, though, that asks you to praise them for it. They are better at hiding their messes, that's for sure. But go and knock a Japanese friend's door randomly and see if they'll let you in for tea. They won't -- because the place is likely a mess and they haven't "prepared".

I can tell you that in my apartment complex there are several large green bins for various recyclables, and each and every day the cleaning staff are out pulling out bags of garbage and things people passing by have chucked in. There are abandoned bicycles, themselves trash, that have been in certain corners of the neighborhood the whole time I've been here, with all sorts of trash in the baskets, etc. And why do you think most convenience stores have started putting their trash and recycling bins INSIDE the shops (and people still park, get out, and take their personal garbage in to said shops to dispose of), and vending machine owners have gotten rid of the recycling bins? Because people stuff anything in them, even though manufacturers have had to change the shape of the openings for cans, bottles, etc., because of this problem.

The habit of cleaning up is not Japanese, and it is not "spreading". The Japanese media is just spreading it's coverage of others doing the same thing, and claiming the Japanese did it first and others have caught onto it.

2 ( +8 / -6 )


The Japanese media is NOT spreading it's coverage of others doing it, i.e. cleaning after themselves, and others at sporting events. Others NEVER DID THAT! Get and try to digest this truth, even if a bitter pill to swallow.

Japanese were, usually are the ONLY FANS that regularly, (i.e. everywhere they go), clean after the games are over; others started doing it in 2018. Jeeezus.

They did exactly that during the London Olympics and were the only set of fans to do that. No Senegalese then. No Brits either!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

When a book or even Wiki starts listing this ,Japanese fans will have to be acknowledged as the trend setters, having started at least 20 years before the rest of the world even attempted to catch up.

This will be just too much for the haters!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I don't think the guys and gals who are looking for stadium jobs to clean up after events are going to be so happy.

id rather they start cleaning up the oceans and beaches, where no one is going to pay someone to do it.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yup, the same old tired nonsense from the anti-Japan crowd here who simply cannot let any good news about Japanese/Japan go by without expressing their nastiness for the world to see. Japanese people have been cleaning up after themselves for decades, this is hardly a new concept. And none of these fans did it to show off or post it on social media. In fact it was non-Japanese in awe of this behavior, that posted it on social media and spread the news.

Netizens around the world have been unanimous in their praise of Japanese behavior, so don't let the bitter haters on here make you think their opinions matter, because they absolutely don't.

Good job Japan!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

oldman_13: "Yup, the same old tired nonsense from the anti-Japan crowd here who simply cannot let any good news about Japanese/Japan go by without expressing their nastiness for the world to see. "

As if the point about making yourself be seen doing something loud and clear, this supposedly about other nations cleaning up, but you have said the article is about Japan. Well done, and precisely what I commented on.

"Netizens around the world have been unanimous in their praise of Japanese behavior"

Therefore nothing else should matter or be counted, right? Why not just ask people who don't agree to leave already? And they're not unanimous, either. Some rightly point out that what Japan has done is tantamount to cultural imperialism. It may seem like "atarimae" to clean up after yourself (until you get out of site and find an empty lot or river without the "gomi wo ppoi shinaide kudasai!") in movie theaters or stadiums, picnic areas, etc. in Japan, but in other countries people are hired SOLELY for that purpose, including waiters and waitresses (don't see Japanese cleaning up at most restaurants, do you?). When the Japanese do this, as was pointed out in 2014 after the C'ote D'Ivoire math, they are taking away jobs. It is proper manners to leave your finished products there for the staff to clean and dispose of properly.

So, not "unanimous" -- you just choose to read what you choose to read, and become offended when you see something you disagree with and can't put credit in the long place for. Reminds me of when people say Japan taught the world to take baths.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

oldman_13: "Netizens around the world have been unanimous in their praise of Japanese behavior, so don't let the bitter haters on here make you think their opinions matter, because they absolutely don't."

Meant to ask another question about this comment... didn't Waters on FOX, and Trump himself, tell Americans not to listen to any other outlets besides FOX news because they their opinions are false and don't matter? Because you're saying the exact same thing, in the exact same way, and how could you possibly say Netizens world-wide are unanimous when addressing ghosts in the room not to "listen to Netizens who are not among the 'unanimous'"?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

By comparison, Hawaii and Seattle beaches are much cleaner.

Have you been to Seattle lately? Good luck getting to a beach without stepping on a used needle. It's become a disgusting mess in the last couple years.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Give credit where credit is due. They cleaned up after themselves and the other fans.

That said do they clean up after themselves at Ajinomoto and Yokohama stadium?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Good lord, you'd think the Japanese invented cleanliness. Japan is the only country where people... you know the rest. It's just this kind of false pride and arrogance that led to the idiotic episode of the trash-ridden post-Halloween Shibuya being photoshopped to look like a different country altogether. Photos: http://www.kjclub.com/kr/board/exc_board_9/view/id/2497191

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"Japanese supporters' habit of cleaning up at World Cup spreads to other countries"

This is the topic in discussion, if memory does not betray moi.

But no. Rrighteous gaijin cannot discuss the topic at hand; they've got to try deflection in order to show Japan up. The article is not about rubbish left on mountain sides, your millions of Japanese close friends that vomit and pee in the middle of Tokyo in plain sight of all and sundry; or about photoshopped Shibuya pics!

This is about Japanese fans cleaning after themselves (and others) at sporting events, activity they've been single-handedly doing for at least 2 decades now. On the quiet, they've been doing it without fanfare and attempting to gain from it. Only offended gaijin seem to be bothered by this fact.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Lack of public litter bins in Japan is the real reason. I easily prefer the arrangment in other countries: systemic trash collection in public parks and elsewhere. I'm tired of stuffing my bag and pockets with trash. Yuck.

0 ( +2 / -2 )


Care to explain to this Londoner, why is that London is way dirtier than Tokyo then? And generally Japan is cleaner than the UK?

Just for clarification I'm a Brit; know both places quite well.

With all the "systemic trash (well rubbish for us) in public parks and elsewhere".

Yeah, we've got all this in place, yet the general dirtiness is in plain sight for all, including the blind to see.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Like someone mentioned above, simply visit one's home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't hate the player hate the game

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my country, there are some awful eyesores of litter and laziness. There are also some magnificent clean and tidy joys to behold. Like most countries.

There are some countries that the marginalised communities recycle the trash themselves and make homes and even businesses out of plastic bottles and rubber tyres. It's quite inspirational.

Japan is one of the cleaner countries but to point out any shortcomings isn't meant as some kind of anti-Japanese sentiment. Rather, it's just showing that we have more in common than some would have us believe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Toasted Heretic

i agree with you but what's the point of being negative about it? we all know nothing is perfect

why can't they just leave it and let the positivity bear a good outcome.

everyone sounds like a bitter "ex" quick to point out flaws when good things are happening

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mark my words.

Expect host Qatar in World Cup ‘22 to cut cleaning staff because they will expect arena fans and watchers to clean up after the game.

Japan. You’ve just opened a can of worms with this! And you’ve just helped eliminate decent summer gig!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I love this. I hate leaving a stadium and it looks like there was a riot. I seriously don’t understand why people have such a hard time cleaning up after themselves. It’s not that hard and maybe it could end up lowering ticket prices.

Japan. You’ve just opened a can of worms with this! And you’ve just helped eliminate decent summer gig!

Maybe you can have your butler clean up after you leave the stadium.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites