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Japan soccer fans clean up as China talks trash

By Cathy Wong Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-17 1:03:01

Scenes of Japanese soccer fans picking up trash at a stadium despite their team's defeat to Cote d'Ivoire in the World Cup finals in Brazil have taken the Chinese Internet by storm.

The pictures have sparked a discussion on the nature of civilized behavior, with many Net users asking why local sports fans can't behave in the same way. Others mounted a staunch defense of their compatriots.  

A photo posted on Twitter shows a number of Japan supporters clearing up their part of the stands in the rain before leaving the Arena Pernambuco in Recife after the team's 1-2 loss to Cote d'Ivoire in the group stage Sunday.

Their behavior has been described as a rare sight among soccer fans who have a reputation for trashing stadiums after losing matches.

Twitter users worldwide called them respectful, and attributed this to Japan's culture and education. Japanese children are taught from an early age to clean up. In the 2002 World Cup, jointly hosted by South Korea and Japan, fans of both nations cleaned up stadiums after games. 

Some Chinese Net users lauded the Japanese fans for their public spirit. 

"We must put aside political divergence toward the Japanese government and learn from the Japanese for their cultivated manner," one Sina Weibo user said.

"This reminds me of the messy scene we leave behind after music festivals," another user posted. 

However, others disapproved of the fuss and doubted the need to blindly praise other nations while being overly self-critical.

"Chinese soccer fans also picked up their own trash after the AFC [Asian Football Confederation] Champions League," one Sina Weibo user said.

"The point is, nobody would believe it even if the Chinese have done similar acts," said another user.

Wang Baoping, a professor of Japanese culture studies with Zhejiang Gongshang University, told the Global Times that Chinese people lack a similar awareness over their manners in public when compared to the Japanese.

"The Japanese are highly aware of external perception toward them, hence paying even more attention to their behavior when they are abroad," said Wang, "This makes a stark contrast to the Chinese visitors overseas, who are known for speaking loudly and occupying public places without restraint."

"The Chinese need to reflect on themselves, and be more aware of their own behavior," he noted.

In October last year, over five tons of rubbish was left behind by spectators at a flag-raising ceremony in Tiananmen Square, sparking criticism within the nation regarding citizens' self-discipline and public manners.

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