Chinese Football Fans Pick Up Trash, Copying Japan’s Example?

Chinese Guangzhou Evergrande FC football fans clean up litter and garbage after a match.


From NetEase:

Following the Example of Japan! Guangzhou Evergrande Football Fans Pick Up Garbage After Match

After the Guangzhou Evergrande FC and Jiangsu Guoxin Sainty FC match, Evergrande fans proactively cleaned up the stands and took away garbage, and are deserving of praise. During the Brazil World Cup, Japanese football fans picking up garbage had won the entire world’s approval.










At the 2012 AFC Champions League Guangzhou Evergrande 5-1 away game against Jeonbuk Hyunda Motors, a female football fan picking up litter at the stadium.


During the Brazil World Cup, Japanese football fans were praised for picking up litter garbage after the match.


During the World Cup, the football players and football matches were main events. However, after the Japan vs. Cote d’Ivoire game, Japanese football fans carrying blue garbage bags picking up garbage in the rain instead became the topic of discussion.


The website of America’s Turner Broadcasting itself published two photographs, featuring football fans wearing Japanese team jerseys carrying blue plastic garbage bags cleaning up the garbage at the stadium. This article’s title was “Japanese fans begin cleaning up garbage after match”.


The article writes that although the Japanese team’s first match was a 1-2 loss, Japanese fans did not descend into disorder, but knowing that there were no waste bins around them, used their own plastic bags and begun picking up garbage. What more, their cleaning was very thorough. Photo is of Japanese football fans watching the match had nearly a bag per person, that were blown up and used for cheering.


June 14, Recife, Japanese football fans picking up garbage at the arena after the match. Japanese football fans watching the match had nearly a bag per person, that were blown up and used for cheering. After the end of the match but before leaving the stadium, they used the blue bags and proactively picked up the garbage around them before leaving.


Actually, this isn’t the first time Japanese football fans collectively picked up garbage after the end of a football match. Previously at a number of AFC Champions League vs. J. League matches, many Japanese football fans had spontaneously picked up litter after the match, tidied up the sports site. For Japanese people, “garbage culture” is already an indispensable part of their national/ethnic culture.


2014 March 12, Japan Yokohama, 2014 AFC group match, Yokohama F. Marinos vs. Guangzhou Evergrande, fans in the stands had brought their own plastic bags.


2014 June 19, Arena das Dunas, 2014 Brazil World Cup Group C, Japan vs. Greece. Japanese fans took away their garbage when exiting.


Historians point out that Japanese people’s attitudes towards garbage is related to the “city besieged by garbage” phenomenon that appeared in the mid-’50s in the last century. At the time, when Japan underwent over 10 years of high-speed economic growth, it very quickly became the world’s second largest producer of garbage, second only to the United States. Because garbage was not sorted, the Japanese islands became known as “Dioxin Country”. Japanese who were deeply aware of their lack of natural resources had no choice but to launch a war against garbage.


In fact, when Japan’s J. League had just become professional, the cheering of football fans was also very chaotic, with many people also using horns. However, because it was too noisy, the J. League banned football fans from bringing horns into the stands since the 1995 season. These behaviors that disrespect others and the opponent were no longer tolerated by a Japanese society that values etiquette.


The picking up of garbage has seemingly become a kind of obsession for Japanese people, also reflecting a Japanese-style philosophy of “severing the unwanted, giving up excess, and breaking away from material enticements”.


2014 June 19, Brazil’s Arena das Dunas, World Cup Group C, Japan 0-0 Greece. Japanese football fans use the plastic bags they brought to collect the garbage in the stands.


It isn’t only at sports competitions like these, in many public situations, Japanese people have the habit of picking up litter. In Japanese society, trash sorting is done to unimaginable extreme. The major sorting is done by whether or not the garbage can be burned, can’t be burned, are resources, or bulk garbage. These categories are then subdivided into many subcategories, with each subcategory then further subdivided, and so on.


For example, Monday is for trash that can be burned, Tuesday is for trash that can’t be burned, Wednesday is for old newspapers, etc. Furthermore, every area’s schedule is different, so if you move from one place to a new place, the local district will provide you with the local garbage recycling schedule which also includes detailed instructions on how to sort your garbage.


Japanese people not only persevere in garbage sorting, they are even more strict about public sanitation. Garbage cans are almost nonexistent on Japan’s streets, even if it is bustling streets like in Ginza or Shinjuku. Apart from a few specialized garbage cans installed next to drink vending machines for drink bottles and cans, there are no waste bins provided.


Most study abroad students all believe that the one thing one must learn in Japan is to pick up trash– Not accustomed to there being no rubbish bins on the side of the streets and also unwilling to litter and thus dirty a clean ground, they gradually picked up a habit: they’d put whatever trash they have in their own pocket or bag, and eventually just brought plastic bags with them whenever they went out, so that “one take care of their own garbage”.


2012 July 6, 80 Japanese hackers picked up garbage in Tokyo’s parks and streets, protesting Japan passing a new copyright law punishing illegal downloads.


When it comes to Japanese people’s habit of picking up garbage, it must be said that it is a habit cultivated from youth. In Japan, children must learn to pick up garbage starting from when they are small. Everyone often laments that Japan’s primary and middle school education is both strict and harsh, but in fact, as early as kindergarten, the first life skill every child learns is how to sort trash.


Apart from fostering a habit of picking up garbage since they are young, Japanese authorities have established many laws and legislation about garbage to normalize public hygiene awareness among its citizens. The heaviest punished is primarily aimed against “illegal disposal of waste”. In addition to a prison sentence of as much as give years, one may be levied a fine of as much as 100 million Japanese yen (approximately 7.1 million yuan). Photo is of a Chinese environmental group visiting Japan’s Tokyo to study their environmental protection programs.


Stipulated in the “Household Electric Appliance Recycling Law”, discarding a medium-sized household electric appliance (such as a television or clothes washing machine) requires paying a 3000 Japanese yen (approximately RMB 180 yuan) recycling fee. Refrigerators require 5000 Japanese yen (approximately RMB 300 yuan. What more, every household appliance that is sold requires recording the individual information of the purchaser, so if you want to “secretly” discard [the appliance], the consequences would be unimaginable.


Excellence is a kind of habit. Rather than saying harsh decrees like “littering garbage may be fined up to 100 million” have compelled Japanese people to foster an awareness of environmental protection, it is better to say “picking up garbage” has already become this nationality’s generational custom and tradition.


With regards to Japanese football fans act of “picking up garbage” at this past World Cup, the vast majority of Chinese netizens rationally clicked “praise/commend/like”: “Putting aside all historical and political issues, whether it is showing off or prejudice, Japanese people’s “garbage” culture is worth our countrymen revering.” Photo is of 2012 September 18, Beijing, as city residents demonstrated in front of the Japanese consulate in China, and an elderly person minded himself picking up litter dropped by the crowd.

Comments from NetEase:

VIVIAN1999 [网易天津市网友]:

Curse and laugh as you should, but after the game is over, please take with you your garbage, because this represents you personal character… as well as gives the people and children around you a beautiful future…

infodpac [网易广东省深圳市网友]: (responding to above)

At present, Evergrande is Asia’s best football club, so Evergrande fans have to work hard to be first-rate football fans in Asia.

资深易友撸大炮 [网易湖南省长沙市网友]:

Praise/commend! Now these are what I call sports fans! As opposed to hooligans!

fxm77149402 [网易广东省佛山市网友]:

If every person would take the initiative to take away the garbage they themselves brought/caused, then there would be scenes like this at the stadium.

146676433 [网易湖南省网友]:

China can be said to have gone astray, with only some Guangdong people having [good] character, who are the most rational, such as in buying cars!

网易广东省深圳市网友 ip:222.248.*.*

Praise/commend, but what do you mean following [Japan’s] example? Bullshit editor/author.

嚣张跋扈文 [网易湖南省岳阳市网友]:

This is not bad already, one step at a time! People’s characters is not something that can be lifted overnight!

simonjilong [网易河北省廊坊市网友]:

Putting on a show [showing off], but the moment they go outside, they’ll spit and litter everywhere!

cdbaxi [网易湖南省手机网友]:

Why call this “following Japan’s example”? China also has traditions of/about civilized behavior! The editor/author should be smacked! These are good role-models among football fans!

观海v听涛 [网易安徽省芜湖市手机网友]:

Even this is called copying Japan? This is simply being civilized/well-mannered, which is not something the Japanese invented! Praise/commend!


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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