News / Asia

Surprise Women’s World Cup Victory Brings Joy to Battered Japan

Japan's Homare Sawa (L) and head coach Norio Sasaki and pose with trophies after the end of their Women's World Cup final soccer match against the U.S. in Frankfurt, July 17, 2011
Japan's Homare Sawa (L) and head coach Norio Sasaki and pose with trophies after the end of their Women's World Cup final soccer match against the U.S. in Frankfurt, July 17, 2011

Japan is still grappling with one of its worst-ever peacetime disasters, but there was jubilation and praise early Monday for a squad of previously unheralded women - the national football (soccer) team. The squad defeated the United States in a penalty shootout to win the Women's World Cup Football final in Germany.

Spontaneous eruptions of joy, punctuated the early morning calm in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, Monday.

Video clip: Japan Women Wins World Cup

Fans of the country’s women’s football (soccer) team, at the famous Shibuya crossing, repeatedly shouted “Japan,” minutes after the squad posted an upset victory over the United States in the Women's World Cup finals in Germany.

A wonderful moment for Japan

It is a rare slice of good news for Japan, still coming to terms with the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that has left more than 20,000 people dead or missing.

Football fan Kazuhiro Teramoto calls it a wonderful moment for the battered country.

Teramoto says the squad demonstrated Japan’s tenacity, and the victory will energize a troubled nation.

Loyal fans poured into Tokyo bars, which remained open for the pre-dawn telecast. The team and the tournament had attracted little public attention until the Japanese women made it through the preliminary rounds.

Football fan Keiko Muranao says she stayed up all night to watch the match. She says the victory has cheered up a country that has been in a somber mood for more than four months.

“We were able to show that we are strong and we are hanging in there and we will rebuild our nation as soon as possible,” she stated.

Japan's first win over the Americans

Japan outlasted the U.S. team 3-1 on penalty kicks, after coming from behind twice in a 2-2 tie. It is the first Asian team to claim the women’s football World Cup.

Fans refer to the team as “Nadeshiko,” a pink flower that symbolizes purity and femininity in Japan. The women played with a distinct size disadvantage to the much taller Americans.

Japan had been defeated by the United States in every one of their previous 25 encounters.

Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told reporters the victory is encouraging to those working in the northeastern part of the country helping it recover from devastation.

He also said he hopes the achievement will be emulated by Japan's political establishment, which has struggled to cope with the nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant.

Ironically, one of the defenders on the Japan squad, Aya Sameshima, previously worked at the crippled Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

<object width="480" height="300" id="kickWidget_45137_301823" name="kickWidget_45137_301823" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="http://serve.a-widget.com/service/getWidgetSwf.kickAction">
<!-- Firefox uses the 'data' attribute above, IE/Safari uses the param below -->
<param name="movie" value="http://serve.a-widget.com/service/getWidgetSwf.kickAction"></param>
<param name="FlashVars" value="affiliateSiteId=45137&amp;widgetId=301823&amp;width=480&amp;height=300&amp;autoPlay=0&amp;playOnLoad=0&amp;revision=178&amp;varsToAppendToLinks=http%3A%2F%2Faffiliate.kickapps.com%2Fservice%2FgetFeed.kickAction%3FmediaId%3D1609002%26mediaType%3Dvideo%26as%3D45137&amp;mediaType_mediaID=video_1609002" ></param>
<param name="wmode" value="transparent" ></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" ></param>
<param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" ></param>
</object>

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid