Japan’s national women’s soccer team has gone unbeaten in the group stage of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, scoring 11 goals and conceding 0. In addition to dominating their opponents, the team has also garnered attention for what it did off the pitch.

Following its win against Zambia in its first group stage match, the team left the locker room spotless and wrote “arigatou,” which is Japanese for “thank you,” on a whiteboard in the locker room.

The tidiness didn’t stop with the team. Japanese fans were seen picking up trash after the match. The fans went row by row with trash bags.

This is nothing new for the Japanese national teams. The men’s team went viral for doing the same thing after upsetting Germany in the group stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

They even left paper cranes and a “thank you” note in both Japanese and Arabic with the tournament being hosted in Qatar, according to Reuters.

Not even a tough loss stops the Japanese teams from being courteous guests. After losing to Belgium and being eliminated from the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the men’s team tidied up and left a “thank you” note in Russian to the tournament’s host, People reported.

Japan shut out Spain on Monday and won Group C. The team plays Norway in the knockout round of 16 on Saturday at 3 a.m. MDT.

Why did Japanese team and fans clean up at World Cup?

The Japanese teams and fans tidying up is more than just practicing good manners and being good guests. It’s part of their culture.

An article from the BBC examining the cleanliness-consciousness of Japan found that Japanese school children are tasked with cleaning their classrooms every day before going home.

Maiko Awane, the assistant director of Hiroshima Prefectural Government’s Tokyo office, told the BBC that the habit of “cleaning time” becomes engrained in students after doing it for 12 years.

“We Japanese are very sensitive about our reputation in others’ eyes,” Awane said. “We don’t want others to think we are bad people who don’t have enough education or upbringing to clean things up.”

Cleaning is also a part of Japanese Buddhism and is comparable to meditation, according to Buddhist monk Shoukei Matsumoto.

“We don’t separate a self from its environment, and cleaning expresses our respect for and sense of wholeness with the world that surrounds us,” Matsumoto wrote for The Guardian. “Cleaning practice is not a tool but a purpose in itself. Would you outsource your meditation practice to others?”

Japan’s players celebrate at the end of the Women’s World Cup Group C soccer match between Japan and Spain in Wellington, New Zealand, Monday, July 31, 2023. | John Cowpland, Associated Press