Thursday, April 26, 2007

East Asian fans have their own "distinctive style"

Blog columnist, Shanghaiist, an obviously foreign-looking chap, attended the 2007 AFC Champions League clash between hosts Shanghai Shenhua and J-League champions Urawa Reds. He found himself in the extremely rare position of being asked for directions by a group of passers-by who at first glance appeared to be locals. Bemused, he soon realised that they were actually Japanese football fans.

"Indeed, the most notable aspect of the afternoon was the relatively large number — over 1,000 — of Urawa Reds supporters who made the trip over the East China sea. This figure is far bigger than the number of travelling fans normally seen at Chinese league games. It's only fair to point out though the economic advantages Japanese have when travelling to China. It was also clear that the Japanese consulate's warnings to the Urawa fans not to fly the Japanese flag or wear club colours had fallen on deaf ears. There wasn't any sign of trouble however and the red-shirted Urawa supporters mingled freely with their Shanghainese hosts on the Pudong streets after the match," he wrote.

"For all the China-Japan rhetoric, the similarities in the fan culture of the East Asian countries was much in evidence. China, Japan and South Korea all launched professional football leagues in the early to mid nineties, and fans initially borrowed heavily from the images of European and South American soccer they are exposed to with such regularity on TV. But now, watch any J-League, K-League or CSL match and you will see the three have developed a distinctive style between them. Whether its slogans daubed in English on banners, fans at the front of the stands with 10ft high flag poles which are raised aloft only when goals are scored, or massed dancing which involves moving a long way from your seat, that quirky East Asian football fan style is something Japan and China have in common, Shanghaiist noted.

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