Shibuya’s Iconic Crossing Bustling in Joy for Japan’s Win over Germany

Jiji Press
Young people in Shibuya celebrate Japan’s victory over Germany in the World Cup soccer tournament on Thursday.

Tokyo, Nov. 24 (Jiji Press)—The iconic scramble crossing in Tokyo’s busy Shibuya district was crowded with people celebrating Japan’s historic victory over Germany in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and in a state of slight disarray late Wednesday night, with police officers deployed for traffic control.

Throngs of young people and others who were watching the two teams’ opening clash in the ongoing World Cup on their smartphones started to gather around the crossing soon after the end of the match, jubilantly cheering over the stunning result for Japan and sharing their joy.

Soon after the crosswalk signal turned green, the swarm of people, with some of them jumping up and down, crossed the scramble crossing near Shibuya Station while pointing their index fingers up in the air and shouting, “Nippon! Nippon!” Nippon means Japan in Japanese.

Although Germany led Japan 1-0 at half-time in the Group E match in the Qatari capital of Doha on the day, two goals in the second half, by Ritsu Doan, 24, in the 30th minute and Takuma Asano, 28, in the 38th minute, helped Japan edge the four-time World Cup champion.

“It’s amazing,” Yuito Kawamura, a 21-year-old university student who came to Shibuya with friends, said, excited over the dramatic come-from-behind victory. “I want Asano to score a goal again,” he added.

“As I didn’t expect Japan to win, the victory makes me feel so good,” said Yuma Tamagawa, a 28-year-old corporate worker, who was wearing a jersey of the Japanese men’s national team.

Japan, which is competing in the 32-team final tournament of the World Cup for the seventh consecutive time, is aiming to reach the last eight in the hugely popular international sporting event for the first time ever.

“I can hang on for another month” following the victory, said a 25-year-old technical school student who was watching the match with friends on television at an “izakaya” pub near the scramble crossing.

The impressive result left Japanese supporters watching the match at the stadium in Doha in a storm of excitement.

“I’m here on this historic day,” said 28-year-old corporate worker Asato Suzuki, from Tokyo’s Tachikawa, who needed to spend 28 hours on his travel to Qatar.

Suzuki could not contain his joy, saying, “I’m just so happy that the team continued to fight courageously, and their efforts paid off.”

“I’ve never been more excited in my life,” 29-year-old Yudai Matsudaira, a corporate employee from the central Japan city of Nagoya, exclaimed.

He said that he and his friends kept cheering on the Japanese team after the rocky first-half.

Matsudaira said that he shed tears when Japan scored in the second half as he felt that the players responded to the encouragement he gave to the team.

“While there had been some thought in me that a draw would be enough, but the team went beyond my expectations,” Miki Nemoto, 41, from Tokyo, said.

With Wednesday’s victory, Japan, currently 24th in FIFA rankings, improved to one win, one loss and one draw against Germany, ranked 11th. Japan scored its first come-from-behind victory in a match in the final tournament of the World Cup.

In the round-robin group stage, Japan is set to face Costa Rica on Sunday and Spain on Dec. 1.

Japan’s win over Germany came only a day after a giant killing by another team from Asia, Saudi Arabia, which edged Argentina 2-1 in Group C.