When thinking of football, hooligan violence comes to my mind, and growing up in a country, or better say a continent, where “football (or soccer if you prefer it) is God” gave me an insight of what “football culture” is and what can we expect of it. And what can be expected to say the least is a catastrophe because football fans lost in anonymity will do as they pleased, even destroying property. In other words, nothing good can come from football. Or at least, that’s what I thought until Japan football fans went viral a few days ago for doing something as common as cleaning, which is an everyday task here, something you must do no matter where you are. Or who you are.
Japan vs Colombia. Japan won the match, and yet, they decided to stay behind and clean. Instead of flooding the bars nearby, Japanese fans decided to make the place spotless again, which caused surprise around the world. (Why Japanese fans cleaned the stadium, please see our previous post on the subject)
And yet as praiseworthy as the Japanese fans’ actions were, it wouldn’t mean as much, if their well-intentioned behavior hadn’t affected other countries’ fans. And it did. Just after their video went viral, I saw the internet flowing with videos of Mexican and Peruvian fans cleaning the stadiums following the example set up by the Japanese.
Why of all the countries present in Russia 2018 Mexico and Peru were the most influenced by the Japanese? The answer lies in the Hosftede’ country comparison.
Photo source: Hofstede insights
PDI: Mexico 84 and Peru 64, and IND: Mexico 30 and Peru 16
As the Japanese became a moral authority in this world cup, Mexicans and Peruvians acted in accordance with PDI (PDI acceptance of hierarchy). And IDV ( sense of group) since Japan, Mexico and Peru were participating in the same event, Mexican and Peruvians are most likely to feel the Japanese as part of their group, as if the Japanese were a sort of “older brother” since they score low in IDV (Mexico 30 and Peru 16)
And most incredible is that although Japan lost the match with Belgium, Japan actually made an epic exit from the wold cup, again, doing something as simple, and noble, as cleaning.
It is fascinating to see and understand how cultures unfold in front of us, but even more amazing is to understand the positive impact some cultures have on others. And to recognize why and how it happens.