The atmosphere in Japan for the Rugby World Cup has been lauded since the opening ceremony, but yesterday saw a ramping up of World Cup hysteria as Japan pulled off a shock victory over Ireland in Shizuoka.
While Irish fans left the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa dejected after defeat, both sets of fans have been applauded across social media for their bonhomie before, during, and after the game.
Lee McKenzie, a TV presenter who works with the BBC and Channel 4, commented during the game on the good-natured exchanges between both sets of fans.
Irish fans were quick to commend their hosts, with Japan rivalling Ireland in the hospitality stakes.
A bad day at the Rugby World Cup, but we’ve had such a good experience in Japan. A very excited and emotional Japan fan insisted on giving me this Ireland-themed origami crane outside the stadium after the game. Couldn’t have lost to a nicer group of people #rwc2019 pic.twitter.com/geQZtkoHSt— Michelle (@ShellBelle24) September 28, 2019
This video captures just how much rugby fever has hit the host nation, with joyous celebrations at the final whistle.
In a British pub in Tokyo watching Japan beat Ireland in the #rwc2019. Tears of joy in the crowd, respect for the Irish fans, and many new friends made! pic.twitter.com/JXi5loCD7L— Chris Kozak (@KozyCanuck) September 28, 2019
And here is the reaction at the Rugby World Cup fanzone in Tokyo.
The reaction was even more ecstatic inside the stadium.
Not surprisingly, the historic win for the Brave Blossoms made the front pages in Japan:
Japan’s win over Ireland front page news in the host nation. Amazing experience to have watched the game in a Japanese bar with fans from all over the world cheering for them. pic.twitter.com/UnqWAx3lrK— Will Aitkenhead (@willaitkenhead) September 29, 2019
The Irish Rugby official Twitter account provided the first words of congratulations to Japan after the final whistle.
Congratulations Japan @JRFURugby - worthy winners today with an incredible performance and amazing support. Thanks to our own fans who cheered us to the last - wonderful as always.#ShoulderToShoulder #JPNvIRE #TeamOfUs pic.twitter.com/XLlMsWnzfE— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) September 28, 2019
And was also quick to applaud the Ireland fans in Japan.
Ireland fans In Shizuoka were incredible today. Cheered the team to the end. Applauded @JRFURugby win. They may be disappointed but they know we’ll rise again. Thank you. #JPNvIRE #TeamOfUs #ShoulderToShoulder pic.twitter.com/qKsvgQf6o9— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) September 28, 2019
After the celebrations, some Japanese fans even stayed behind to help clean the stadium.
Overall, full credit must go to both sets of fans. For more reaction to yesterday's game, watch The Daily Donal, with Donal Lenihan providing his analysis from Japan every day.