People in Japan now concerned over what might happen on public transport during the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup finally kicked off in Japan on 20 September, with 20 international teams competing in the tournament and thousands of fans from around the world descending on the country to support their favourite rugby players.
As the first country in Asia to ever host the World Cup, it’s been a new and exciting experience for everyone in Japan, where rugby has been growing in popularity following the jaw-dropping defeat of South Africa’s Springboks by Japan’s Brave Blossoms back in 2015.
While Japan’s love for rugby is steadily growing, the fan culture that surrounds the game overseas remains unfamiliar territory. That’s something that’s quickly changing now, however, as international fans are giving locals a lesson in how to celebrate victories, as shown in a recent video that went viral on the weekend.
Twitter user , who describes themselves as “a Japanese person who loves France”, was on a Keio Line train in Tokyo on Saturday night — following France’s 23-21 win over Argentina — when French rugby fans suddenly sat down in a line on the floor, passing another fan over themselves as if performing a lineout in the game.
Take a look at the tweet below:
のん Marianne Renoir (@nontage) September 21, 2019
@nontage says she laughed at first when she saw this happening, but things quickly escalated as passengers who were unrelated to the group began getting knocked about by them. One of them ended up hitting her camera with their foot, sending her lens cap flying, so she ended up moving to another carriage.
While @nontage is quick to note that she understands the feeling of elation the French fans must have felt following the win, others who saw the clip, which has now been viewed over 2 million times, were less understanding.
“People from abroad always say ‘Japan is fantastic!’ But isn’t it because things like this don’t happen that people feel that way?”
“It’s sad when foreign tourists don’t respect the culture and etiquette of the country they’re visiting.”
“What will happen during the Olympics?”
“Regardless of what country you’re from, this sort of thing shouldn’t happen on a train. Go do it in a park or something where you’re not going to bother others.”
“We’re taught to never put our shoes on seats from a very young age.”
“Even children know to not put their feet on seats with their shoes on.”
People in Japan appeared to be equally appalled by the actions of the group on the floor as they were by the woman on the right-hand side who put her feet up on the seat — with her shoes on — to avoid being hit by the group.
However, in a follow-up tweet @nontage was careful to remind people to avoid letting this clip stain the image of an entire country, saying:
“I want to say that this type of behaviour is not representative of all French people.
Other French people moved carriages as well, saying: ‘We also moved to this carriage to avoid them.’
It’s the same as Halloween; not all Japanese people dress up in costume.
People are not all the same, and these people are just one portion (of society).”
Then another Twitter user added to the fire with another clip showing “rugby hooligans” throwing a flag on a street in Japan.
𝐅𝐑𝐄𝐄👁𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐒𝐎𝐍 (@superblackneet) September 21, 2019
It’s true that fans who act out in Japan don’t represent the people in the country they’re from, but when they decide to take part in dumb acts like these they aren’t doing their homeland any favours either.
So, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, which, if you’re in Japan, means you order beers from beer-vending girls, tidy up your section in the stands after watching a match, and avoid knocking 10-year-olds into the ground at fun rugby matches in front of the assembled press. Yes, Boris Johnson, we’re looking at you.