Japanese fans traveled across the globe to see their team compete in the 2014 World Cup, but even though the team lost in their opener against Ivory Coast the faithful made sure to leave a good impression.
Several hundred fans stayed after the team’s 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast, grabbing giant plastic bags and picking up trash that was left over in the stadium.
The great gesture of sportsmanship was captured by some photographers inside the stadium, and on Sunday the pictures quickly went viral. A post on the link and image-sharing site Reddit garnered thousands of user votes.
The Japanese fans have gained a tradition of being gracious guests in the World Cup host countries. Fans also stayed behind after games in France in 1998 and Germany in 2006 to clean up refuse in the stadiums.
Others noted that the Japanese have a cultural aversion
to littering. In Japanese culture, people are expected to pick up after themselves and littering is not only a social faux pas
, but actually illegal in many areas of the country.