A record 25 million people watched Japan beat Samoa in Milton Keynes on Saturday as they continued their fantastic World Cup.
Japanese rugby is riding a wave of popularity after an incredible 25 million people tuned in on television to watch their Pool B win over Samoa.
Having stunned the world with their historic win over South Africa on the opening Saturday of the World Cup, Japan have become the story of the tournament, and could yet reach a first-ever quarter-final.
For their pool win over the Samoans, they broke the broadcast record which dated back to 2007 when 20.7 million watched France’s semi-final with England on TF1.
Brett Gosper, the chief executive of World Rugby explained: “This is a significant result for the game in Japan. It shows that the general population there appreciate the sport and the amazing performances of their national team over the past few weeks.
“Their style of play has really caught the imagination of rugby fans around the world and, as these broadcast numbers indicate, in Japan.”
After beating Samoa 26-5, Japan are third in Pool B, two points behind Scotland, and a further point behind South Africa.
A win over the USA would give them a shot of reaching the quarter-finals, but they would need either Scotland to lose to Samoa, or the Springboks to go down to the USA to make the knockout stages.
That is in large part due to their tough schedule, which saw them face Scotland just four days after their win over South Africa.
After keeping it tight for the first 50 minutes, they unsurprisingly collapsed in the final half-hour, going down 45-10.
However, even if Japan fail to make the last eight, the sport appears to have grabbed the imagination back home, four years before the country hosts the tournament.
The task now has to be to build on this success, with legitimate concerns over the future of Japanese rugby.
Eddie Jones is leaving his job as coach of the national side at the end of the tournament, and one of his assistants, Steve Borthwick, is already being mentioned with regards to England if they decide to change their coaching team.
The favourite to replace Jones is Fiji coach John McKee, the New Zealander who has overseen a revival of Fijian fortunes in recent seasons.
Despite failing to pick up a point in their first three pool games, Fiji have been one of the best tier two sides, and have pushed England, Australia and Wales hard.
He is also being tipped to take over the country’s Super Rugby side, and concerns over its participation appear to have eased, with news that the new franchise will be called the Sunwolves.
However it is still not clear which players will make up the new side, with a number tied to Super Rugby teams, as well as the Top League.
That should all become clear in the next month, but now is certainly the time for the JRFU to take advantage of the exploits and popularity of the Brave Blossoms.