Arigatou gozaimasu! Japanese won our hearts!

Evelyn Gruber
Evelyn Gruber Dec 06, 2022

Thank you JAPAN! You won´t win the World Cup trophy but you have won our hearts!

The Japanese Team - called Samurai Blue - brought drama, debate and courtesy to the World Cup in Doha and the Japanese fans played their part in creating good vibes there as well. Posts of the Japanese Players and their fans have even gone viral on social media platforms for their extremely courteous behavior.

Class acts from everyone!
Japanese fans took sportsmanship to another level, following the disappointing loss to Croatia in the penalty shooting. Fans cleaned up the trash in the stadium and encouraged other fans to do so as well by handing out blue garbage bags. While this is a very unusual behavior to us, it isn´t for Japanese people. Cleaning up after oneself is ingrained in the Japanese culture. When asked about it they said that they weren’t doing it for the cameras! Luckily, the cameras still spotted them. The values they were displaying are worthy of a global audience.

The Japanese players left their locker room spotless and even put several origami birds and "Thank you" notes on the table as gifts. In Japan the traditional origami bird is the three-legged crow “Yatagarasu,” which is considered a mythical creature that brings good fortune and health.

Throughout the entire tournament, the Japanese have shown nothing but grace and respect both on and off the field. And this started from the top. Japan's Head Coach Hajime Moriyasu was bowing before fans after the team had lost against Croatia. I’ve seen lots of Coaches doing the exact opposite. They cursed at players, destroyed benches and disrespected fans after the defeat of their Teams. Hajime´s gesture, however, is dignity & grace redefined.

It wasn´t that long ago when we witnessed a similar classy gesture in golf by Caddie Shota Hayafuji after Hideki Matsuyama´s 2021 Masters Win! After Hideki had screwed off the pin flag, Shota took off his cap and bowed in the direction of the setting sun to show his respect for golf and the golf course. Keeping the flag of #18 is a tradition many caddies have followed before. Hayafuji´s unique twist, however, has gone down in Masters lore.

I love the Japanese culture and the country´s wonderful people as they spread respect, kindness and humility. Thank you to all my Japanese friends, especially Ms Shizuho Suzuki, you have taught me so much and led by example as well!

If you want to experience the unique culture on and off the golf courses in Japan yourself, join Elite ´s epic escorted tours in 2023. Those will exceed your expectations! If you sign up by Dec 15, you will benefit from huge savings and a 30-days money back guarantee, no questions asked! For more details, check out