Japan Women's World Cup Victory Scores Big Ratings

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National holiday on Monday meant many braved the 3.45 a.m. kick-off.

TOKYO – Ratings for Japan’s victory over the U.S. in Sunday night’s soccer Women’s World Cup final peaked at over 30% despite the final kicking off at 3.45 a.m. – boosted by Monday having been a national holiday.

The broadcast of the final – in which Japan won the first global soccer title by an Asian nation -- on Fuji TV scored viewing figures of 21.1%. Meanwhile, the program on public broadcaster NHK’s satellite channel, BS1, pulled in 10.1%.

According to Video Research Inc, viewing figures rose as the morning went on and more people got up to catch the game. By the time winning captain Homare Sawa was interviewed after the dramatic penalty shootout finish, viewership for Fuji TV’s broadcast had reached 27.7%.

The ratings topped those of highlight broadcasts of the men’s soccer World Cup from 2010 and matches from the World Baseball Classic in 2009 that were shown at similar times.

The unexpected triumph of the team in Germany – known as Nadeshiko Japan after a flower that is said to personify traditional Japanese femininity – has lifted spirits back home where good news has been in short supply since the March 11 disasters and ongoing nuclear crisis.