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ROBOTS REPLACE FANS AT JAPANESE BASEBALL GAME

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Due to the COVID 19 restrictions, the usually jam-packed 40,000-capacity Fukuoka Dome games became empty of fans.

This spurred the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks to come up with an imaginative replacement: dancing robots.

Before their most recent Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) game against Rakuten Eagles on Tuesday, more than 20 robots danced to the team’s fight song on a podium in the otherwise empty stand.

Before the pandemic, Hawks’ fans usually perform a choreographed dance before games.  This time, the SoftBank hawks have employed an army of robots to sing, dance and encourage the team amidst a fanless game.

A total of 40 robots, including SoftBank’s humaniod robot ‘Pepper’ and others on four legs like a dog, were dressed with the team’s jersey and waved flags while singing the team’s song Izayuke Wakataka Gundan.

The fans took to social media and expressed their mixed opinions.

“I think this is like a dystopia,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another called the performance “insanely beautiful.”

Boosted by the support of their robot fans, the Hawks won 4-3 as they look to defend their 2019 NPB title.

The NPB season began three months late on June 19 due to the coronavirus pandemic and currently, no supporters are allowed to attend games.

However, from Friday, up to 5,000 fans will be allowed to attend professional baseball and soccer games in Japan due to an easing of restrictions

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