Sales of replica shirts and scarves for the Japanese soccer team, known as the "Blue Samurai" were well down on the last World Cup in 2006 leading into the 2010 event in South Africa.
Japan's erratic form under eccentric coach Takeshi Okada and the economic downturn contributed to a distinct lack of interest among the Japanese public. Fewer people on organized tours have traveled to support the team in South Africa amid concerns over security and the huge distances involved.
However, as Japan advanced to the last 16 of the tournament, a feat they failed to achieve in Germany four year's ago, with a resounding thumping of Denmark, optimism and retail sales are picking up across the now slightly "soccer-mad" country.
Fans have packed bars and the Samurai Blue fan park in Yoyogi in Tokyo to cheer on their heroes, as cash registers across the nation begin to experience a definite "feel-good" factor.
Japan progressed from a tough Group E beating Cameroon and Denmark and losing only narrowly to the Netherlands and now take on Paraguay in the Round of 16.
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