Television ratings set during Japan’s loss against South Africa in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals reached an average of 41.6 percent in eastern Japan, the highest of any match in the current tournament, a rating agency said Monday.
Video Research Ltd. said the rating for the live broadcast of the game Sunday by public broadcaster NHK hit 49.1 percent at one point in the Kanto region, of which Tokyo is part. South Africa defeated Japan 26-3 in the game.
In the Kansai region, which includes Osaka and its vicinity, the rating peaked at 47.9 percent, and the average figure stood at 41.4 percent.
The peak ratings in Kanto and Kansai were both marked in the second half of the game.
The average ratings in the Kanto region for Japan’s matches at the ongoing World Cup have steadily risen as the Brave Blossoms exceeded expectations, winning all four pool-stage games to qualify for the quarterfinals for the first time.
The rating was 18.3 percent in their match against Russia on the opening day of the World Cup in late September, before increasing further in the game versus the higher-ranked Ireland — in which Japan clinched an unlikely victory — and reaching 32.8 percent in the clash against Samoa.
Their match against Scotland on Oct. 13 peaked at 53.7 percent, with an average rating of 39.2 percent registered in the Kanto region.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga praised the national rugby team at a news conference Monday for opening a new chapter in their history.
“Unfortunately, they lost to South Africa, but they did not give up and played hard in hopes of clinching victory until the very end, which was consistent throughout the Brave Blossoms’ games,” Suga said.
“The players of the Japanese team gave the whole of Japan excitement and dreams, and moved us,” the top government spokesman said.
“I’d like to congratulate the players on their endeavor and on opening a new door in history.”