With Japan reaching the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals for the first time, fans are scrambling to get their hands on official merchandise. Except the Brave Blossoms have become so popular, demand is far outpacing supply.
World Rugby has said more than 200,000 jerseys have been sold so far, leaving many fans disappointed at the main Japan 2019 megastore in Tokyo.
“The Japanese jerseys are just selling like crazy,” said store manager Danny Robinson on Wednesday.
“We have taken them from the stadiums, as what hasn’t sold at the stadiums is coming back here, we have totally cleaned out Canterbury’s warehouse and we are getting them whenever we can but unfortunately it looks like most of the Japanese jerseys in Japan are sold out.”
Japan won all four of its Pool A matches, including victories over top-tier nations Ireland and Scotland, on the way to topping the group and setting up a quarterfinal against two-time champion South Africa.
Robinson said Japanese fans were spending an average of ¥13,000 ($119.64) on goods when they came into the store.
“If we get a shipment in, we get maybe 200 on the shelf and then suddenly they are gone within two hours, three hours maximum,” he added.
“We have people lining up at the door when they know Japanese jerseys are here.”
Those who fail to get the jerseys are turning their attention to other Brave Blossoms merchandise — only to come up empty handed.
“They didn’t have a tote bag. I wanted to buy a towel or pillow but they said they don’t have them either,” said 43-year-old Kumiko Ikegaya.
“I am happy that they advanced to the last eight, but honestly I wish they had more goods here.”
Fans are coming to the megastore from far and wide just to pick up some memorabilia. Yoko Inoue arrived from Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, 500 km north of Tokyo.
“I really didn’t know about the game of rugby, but it has become a sport which has ignited the whole nation,” said Inoue.
“I really wanted to come here when my daughter told me that there is a merchandise store.”
Japan will face South Africa in Tokyo on Sunday.