Japan Data

Holding On for Victory: Japan Fans Save Bathroom Breaks for After Final Whistle


Water usage statistics show just how engrossed Japanese fans were by their team’s World Cup match with Colombia.

When Japan had the chance for a historic victory against Colombia in its first game of the 2018 World Cup, fans across the country did not want to miss a moment. The patterns of water usage during the match offer eloquent testimony to the depths of their interest.

Water usage generally shows a slow, steady decline from dinnertime to the small hours. During the June 19 game, however, it was a very different story of sharp rises and falls in the 23 cities of central Tokyo.

In the build-up to the game there was a greater-than-average use of water, suggesting that fans were getting dinner and visits to the toilet out of the way. Usage then dropped below average during the action before spiking hugely at the half-time whistle.

With the match poised at 1:1, the amount of water used fell steadily during the second half. After Ōsako Yūya nodded home a second Japan goal, it continued to decrease. Apparently, many fans preferred to put up with discomfort rather than miss the moment Japan secured victory. Average viewer ratings in the Kantō region were 48.7% for the whole game, but rose to 55.4% in the final moments shortly before eleven o’clock—which was also when water usage was at its lowest.

When the game was finished, however, the amount of water used shot up again, remaining above the usual average for some time. Perhaps fans were staying up and savoring the victory.

This usage pattern is a common phenomenon during popular World Cup and Olympic broadcasts. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Waterworks is prepared to monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary to ensure a stable water supply.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Japan National Team Coach Nishino Akira, at center, celebrates victory at the end of the World Cup match with Colombia on June 19, 2018. © Jiji.)

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