hile some of China’s citizens still harbor a deep resentment for Japan, they never shy away from giving the Japanese people their due for being the world’s most well-mannered neat freaks.
On Tuesday, Japan played Colombia in the World Cup, besting them by a score of 2-1, becoming the first Asian nation to ever defeat a South American one in the history of the football tournament. You would think that after such a historic victory, Japanese fans would transition immediately to partying and celebrating, but instead they patiently took the time to clean up after themselves.
Following Tuesday’s match, a Colombian man recorded video of a couple of Japanese fans picking up trash around their section of the stands. In the footage, the Colombian high-fives one of the Japanese fans, congratulating him on a great match.
“Look at what the Japanese are doing! They won, but look at what they’re doing!” the Colombian says to the camera, as translated by the Global Times. “This is incredible! And we Colombians are brutes who don’t realize that discipline and order is what makes them better.”
After the video was shared on Weibo, many Chinese netizens expressed similar sentiments:
“No matter what they have done in the past, no one can deny that the quality of Japanese people is very high.”
“Is this part of the reason that they are in and we are out?”
While also ragging on their own pitiful national team:
“When will our men’s team give us the opportunity to pick up some trash?”
“I will pick up garbage for a month if it means we will qualify for the next World Cup.”
Chinese net users also made similar comments during the previous world cup after Japanese fans made headlines for staying around after one match, braving the rain to pick up garbage littering the stadium in Brazil. Here are some translated comments from the time from ChinaSmack:
“When this abnormal nation is sometimes normal, there are a lot of things worth us as a neighboring country learning from and respecting.”
“You can not like Japan, even dislike Japan, but we can’t deny this kind of gap, this disparity in civilization [specifically, civic consciousness].”
Similarly, back in 2015, images of a flooded subway station in the eastern Japanese city of Hamamatsu hit the Chinese internet. Rather than focus on the damage, net users instead couldn’t help but notice how crystal clear the flood waters were, rating them as being clearer than the water in Chinese public swimming pools.
And after a record-breaking 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck the island nation in 2011, Chinese net users professed their admiration for how the Japanese people handled the quake with calm, comradery, and grace. Here are a couple more translated comments from ChinaSmack:
“This character alone is worth us learning from.”
“After another 50 years, [we] still wouldn’t have caught up.“
”In Japan, the cars yield to the people. In China, the cars can’t wait to run over your body, even if you have the green light and the car is making a turn.”
Meanwhile, back in the present day, Japanese fans’ habit of picking up after themselves appears to have also inspired other fans with video of Senegalese fans tidying up after their team beat Poland also going viral.