While we’re sure there are admittedly few of these people out there, anyone who likes to follow “Japan is racist” news has probably already heard about the Urawa Reds soccer team incident. A group of fans placed a “Japanese Only” banner outside an entrance to a section of stands during a recent game, drawing the ire of some human rights watchdogs; especially in light of the fact that team management failed to remove the banner and, after the incident went public, even defended the fans by speculating that they “probably meant ‘Japanese Language Only.'”
While that scenario is obviously incredibly unlikely, given that all conversations taking place during soccer games are a combination of fight songs and wild grunts that are unrecognizable as any actual language, even the most optimistic Japanophiles admitted that it was unlikely the team or offending fans would see any real repercussions.
That all changed when the J-League unleashed an incredible Zinedine Zidane headbutt-level can of whoopass on all involved in the incident, banning the fans who posted the sign for life, forcing the Reds to play their next game in an empty stadium, and banning Reds team supporters from displaying banners of any kind for the foreseeable future.
We would have also liked the Urawa Reds team coach forced to wear a chicken costume for the remainder of the season, but we feel the punishment doled out is both sufficiently harsh and conducive to creating an environment in which all races can enjoy a game of soccer in Japan – which, we must point out, was imported into the country from Europe in the first place.