Today was only their second opener at the tournament ever, and nothing will ever top the elation of beating holders France in 2002, but their 2-1 win over Poland was a huge success for the Lions of Teranga in a tough group.
Both groups of fans stayed at their respective stadiums after their teams' wins on Tuesday to pick up trash and lighten the work of the 15,000 or so Russian volunteers.
This was due to the fact that they were busy picking up litter and tidying their section of the stand at the Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow. But those working after Japan's games will have an easier job of it. America's Steve Christakos reports.
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They showed up at the World Cup match sporting trash bags.
"You often hear people say that football is a reflection of culture", he said.
Sixteen years later, the 42-year-old guided his team to another opening win, against Poland, in only their second World Cup participation ever. Though it might seem exceptional in other countries, taking responsibility for cleaning up is seen as standard in Japan.
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"Cleaning up after football matches is an extension of basic behaviors that are taught in school, where the children clean their school classrooms and hallways", North told the BBC.
Their actions touched the hearts of the world on social media as they were praised for their efforts and representing the game in a positive light.
A video showed fans removing rubbish from the Otkrytiye Arena, in Moscow, after they'd gone insane following their win (which we can't blame them for).
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Japan soccer fans are pictured ahead of a match against Colombia in the Mordovia Arena in Saransk, Russia, on June 19, 2018.