“Twenty years have passed since then” In

2002, Japan was in a frenzy.

It is the first soccer World Cup in Asia to be co-hosted by Japan and South Korea.

At the World Cup currently being held in Qatar, the Japan national team will face Spain in the third and final match of the primary league on December 2, Japan time.

A battle to advance to the final tournament.

It was 20 years ago when I first decided to advance to Osaka.

Advance to the final tournament for the first time

June 14, 2002 at Nagai Stadium in Osaka.

Supporters in uniforms of the Japanese national team flocked to the stadium one after another before the match.

The Japan national team, which was participating for the second time, drew in their first match against Belgium and earned their first points.

In the second match against Russia, Junichi Inamoto scored a goal for the team's first victory.

Tunisia will be their opponent in the 3rd match with 4 points.

With the support of 45,000 supporters, Japan won 2-0 with goals from Hiroaki Morishima and Hidetoshi Nakata.

We decided to advance to the final tournament for the first time in the group 1st place with 7 points.

[With NHK footage] 2002 Japan-Korea tournament

Enthusiasm in Japan

The archipelago was greatly excited by the first feat of Japan.

At the scramble crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo, every time the traffic light turns green, young people wearing the uniforms of the Japanese national team give high fives to everyone.

They shouted “Nippon, Nippon!” and shared their joy.

In Osaka, the Ebisubashi Bridge over the Dotonbori River and the Dotonbori Bridge on the west side were packed with supporters and spectators at sports bars.

Young people jumped into the river from the bridge one after another in excitement.

The success of the Japanese national team has generated a great deal of interest and has become a social phenomenon.

Looking back on the excitement at the time, Mr. Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, who was a member of the Japanese national team, said, ``The excitement of the whole of Japan at that time, or rather the movement, was amazing. I'm here.

The tournament will be held in 10 locations across Japan.

2002 Japan-Korea tournament.

From May 31st to June 30th, a total of 64 matches were held at 20 venues, 10 each in Japan and South Korea.

Do you remember the 10 venues in Japan?

▼Sapporo Dome

▼Miyagi Stadium in Rifu Town, Miyagi Prefecture

▼Kashima Stadium in Kashima City, Ibaraki Prefecture

▼Niigata Stadium

▼Saitama Stadium

▼Yokohama General Stadium

▼Shizuoka Stadium in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka Prefecture

▼Nagai Stadium in Osaka

▼Kobe Wing Stadium

▼Oita Stadium 10 venues.

It is still used as the home of the soccer J-League team, and is also used for music events.

Interest in world superstars

It's not just the success of the Japanese national team.

We were able to see world-famous superstars play in Japan.

Not only his play, but also his fashion and hairstyle have attracted attention.

Brazilian ace Ronaldo.

In the final, he scored two goals against Germany and was the top scorer with eight goals in total, leading his home country to its fifth championship.

that wacky?


It was also called "Daigoro cut".

England's captain, Beckham, has gained more popularity than Ronaldo.

He was England's playmaker and led the team to the last eight.

Not only playing, but also the appearance of taking care of the wife of the former member of the popular music group "Spice Girls" in the gorgeous mansion called "Beckingham Palace" became a hot topic.

A soft mohawk with blond hair raised on the top of the head.

This hairstyle, also called "Beckham hair", is very popular.

Whenever I walked around town, I could always see a man with "Beckham hair".

"Beckham-sama" also became the top ten of this year's new word / buzzword award.

Interacting at each team's campsite

2002 was a year of excitement throughout Japan.

The success of the Japanese national team, the topic of world-famous players.

But that's not all.

The fact that the World Cup has become deeply involved in "all over the country" has also created a rise in public interest.

A camp site where the players of the participating teams make adjustments before the tournament.

In the local area, interacting with the players, children studying the language of the team, and eating the local cuisine of the team at lunch.

Cultural exchange was also a big factor in making the World Cup feel familiar.

“Nakatsue Village” in Oita Prefecture, which became a big topic

The most talked about camp site in Japan was the former Nakatsue Village in Oita Prefecture, now Nakatsue Village in Hita City.

The population at that time was about 1,300.

In a small village in the mountains, the Cameroon national team held pre-Games training camps.

Why did it become such a hot topic?

Even after the scheduled arrival date of the Cameroon representative, there was no sign of coming.

Still, the villagers continued to wait.

Five days later than planned, and even though it was past 3:00 a.m., about 130 villagers, including mayor Yasushi Sakamoto, welcomed us with smiles.

The appearance inspired me.

During my eight-day stay, I played practice matches with local high school students and interacted with the villagers.

At the final send-off party, the children performed the Hanagasa Ondo, and Mboma, who played in the J.

The Grand Prize of the 2002 New Word and Buzzword Awards was "World Cup (Nakatsuemura)".

Exchange continues even now

Even now, 20 years after the camp site, exchanges with Cameroon continue.

At last year's Tokyo Olympics, the Cameroonian team once again visited "Nakatsue Village".

At the World Cup Qatar tournament this time, the residents are continuing to interact with each other, such as making cheering videos.

If Cameroon participates in the World Cup, I will support the Cameroon national team.

Song, who was the captain at the time, is the manager of this tournament.

Mr. Eto'o, who was a member of the team at the time and was active in clubs in Europe, is the president of the Cameroonian Football Federation.

At the match between Cameroon and Serbia held on the 29th, more than 20 people gathered at a tourist facility to watch the game on TV to support Coach Song and the players.

They cheered by holding a cushion with a portrait of Yasushi Sakamoto, the mayor of the village at the time who invited them to the camp.

In the match, Serbia leads by 2 points, but “Indomitable Lion” Cameroon will not give up.

Catch up with a 2 point difference and draw 3 to 3.

It was the first time in 20 years since the Japan-Korea tournament that the team scored 1 point.

Twenty years ago, Marina Takano, who was in her third year of junior high school at the time, performed "Hanagasa Ondo" with Cameroonian players.

We celebrated with the first ondo in 20 years.

The mayor of the village 20 years ago, Yasushi Sakamoto, said, "Even though the point difference was wide, I was calm until the end. I was happy because it was the first point in 20 years. I felt very nostalgic because I had a close relationship with Song as captain at the time. ” commented.

Bring back the frenzy

It has been 20 years since the Japan-Korea Games, which was enthusiastic throughout Japan.

The Japan national team will face Spain in the third and final match of the first league at 4:00 a.m. on December 2, Japan time, in order to advance to the final tournament.

With the encouragement of the supporters, they will aim to reach the quarter-finals for the second time in a row and the top 8 for the first time.