Japan may have lost their chance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the match against Greece last week, but they won hearts all over the world with their incredible gesture after - they stayed back to clean the stadium of all litter as the rest of the crowd filed out.
Wearing raincoats to protect themselves against the drizzle, and armed with garbage bags, the Blue Samurai fans set an example of true sportsmanship and goodwill, despite their loss. Unlike fans in other nations that have been known to resort to vandalism and violence (both in disappointment and exuberance) after a match, the 15,000 Japanese fans present at the Arena Pernambuco, Recife showed off a civic sense embedded deep within their cultural etiquette.
In Japan, it is common practice to clean up after yourself at concerts, sporting events and festivals. At restaurants, diners clean their own tables after a meal. And at public events, people often carry garbage back home to dispose of, instead of littering.
A Japanese football fan was quoted telling the NPR, "We try to do little bit of clean-up to show respect to the host country and just, you know, show off how clean things are in Japan. And we like to make it so here, too."
At the end of the match, the defeated Japanese players formed a line and bowed to their fans, in appreciation of their support.
The photographs went viral on social media, eliciting responses that hailed Japan as a fascinating example of sportsmanship.
The host nation, Brazil, has called this out as a great example for Brazilians.