Japanese fan travels over 8,000 km to support Palestine in Asian Cup

Japanese fan travels over 8,000 km to support Palestine in Asian Cup By A Robin - January 25, 2024
Shogo Iwanaga

Shogo Iwanaga

Shogo Iwanaga, a devoted football enthusiast hailing from Japan, has embarked on a journey to Qatar to passionately support the Palestinian national team from the stadium stands during the Asian Cup 2023.

In a video interview with the local sports channel Al Kaas TV, Iwanaga conveyed his heartfelt empathy for the Palestinian people. He introduced himself, stating, β€œI am Shogo Iwanaga from Nagoya, Japan, and I have come forward to rally behind the Palestinian national team. I empathize with the people of Palestine who endure persecution, genocide, and racism.”

Drawing on his own experiences during the earthquake in Japan, Iwanaga expressed a profound connection to the pain suffered by the Palestinian people, their players, and their families. He acknowledged the incomparable nature of an earthquake to war but emphasized the shared understanding of adversity.

While holding a banner that read, β€œFree Palestine - we pray for a world with no war and racism,” Iwanaga demonstrated his unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian cause. He stated, β€œI hope to offer my support by cheering for the Palestinian team from the stands, at least.”

In a light-hearted moment, Iwanaga addressed the prospect of Japan and Palestine facing each other, saying, "I am Japanese and support the Japanese team, but I also cheer for Palestine."

As a true football fan, Iwanaga shared his tournament aspirations, expressing a desire to witness both Qatar and Japan make it to the final match. As the group stage concluded, Japan, Palestine, and Qatar all secured spots in the Round of 16.

By A Robin - January 25, 2024

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