Japan know they face a difficult task to progress from their pool when they host the Rugby World Cup later this year, but England's stunning win over Ireland on Saturday has shown the Brave Blossoms that their toughest foes are fallible.
Ireland started the defense of their Six Nations title at Dublin's Aviva Stadium as the world's form team, but were brought down to earth with a startling bump.
(Henry Slade of England celebrates with teammates as he crosses to score their side's fourth try)[Getty/Kyodo]
And the man behind their downfall on the opening weekend of the annual northern hemisphere tournament is known very well to Japanese rugby fans.
Eddie Jones famously coached Japan to their finest moment -- the shock win over two-time champions South Africa at the 2015 World Cup in England -- a feat so memorable it is being made into a movie.
So what chance do Japan have of repeating the "Miracle of Brighton" against Ireland in Pool A in Shizuoka on Sept. 28?
Not much, most would say, but the way Jones' side dismantled Ireland -- World Rugby's team of the year in 2018 -- offers some encouragement.
First and foremost, England won the physical battle, as Ireland coach Joe Schmidt admitted: "We were physically bettered. I don't think I've seen a game where our opponents have got so many dominant tackles."
"It's something that happened to us two years ago against the All Blacks -- we got bullied here. You have got to be prepared to give as good as you get and I don't think we did tonight."
England's dominance was epitomized by their pack, who won most of the physical encounters and seized the forward momentum that enabled their ball carriers to run at the Ireland defense, such as when Manu Tuilagi powered through Josh van de Flier to start the move that led to Jonny May's opening try.
The 32-20 defeat was a chastening experience for Ireland, who have risen from eighth to second in the world rankings since Schmidt took over in 2013, recording two memorable wins over the No.1 ranked New Zealand along the way.
"We knew we had to win the physical battle and we probably shaded them in that area," said Jones. "We went out with a certain plan that we thought would work and we stuck at it, and that's what really pleased me."
While Japan may not quite have the brute physical presence to bully Ireland the way England did, this match showed that if they get in the faces of their more illustrious opponents, they may reap dividends.
However, the other main aspect of England's victory perhaps offers greater hope to Jamie Joseph's Brave Blossoms as they prepare to face Ireland -- and a resurgent Scotland -- in their World Cup pool.
England won the kicking contest, both in terms of how they tactically booted themselves up the park in attack and in how they dealt with Ireland's renowned use of the high ball.
During Ireland's ascent to the top of world rugby, flyhalf and 2018's world player of the year Johnny Sexton and scrumhalf Conor Murray routinely put opposing backs under pressure by booting the ball high, often profiting from ensuing fumbles as opposing backs attempted to gather before being engulfed by the Irish onrush.
But England's backs, especially May, were unflappable under the bombardment they had spent the previous week preparing for in their camp in Portugal.
Murray was honest in his appraisal. "England were really good, especially in the air, they cleaned up in the air and we struggled to get in the contest. And they kicked really well too," said the man considered by many the world's best No. 9.
"They put in some really good hits and they seemed a bit more pumped than we were. We were a bit off, probably physically, we didn't front up enough and lost the collisions. We have to sort that out."
With Japan relying on a strong kicking game, Joseph and his assistant Tony Brown will have observed England's victory in Dublin with great interest.
The Japanese coaching duo know that to reach the World Cup's last eight, their charges will probably need to beat Ireland or Scotland to finish in the top-two of their five-team pool.
The best example of England's successful deployment of the kick in attack came in the second-half try that pushed them out of Ireland's reach when Henry Slade sprinted on to May's chip and touched down.
The irony was that such a ploy has become a signature of Ireland, with star wing Jacob Stockdale the main proponent.
"We wanted to create space and kicking is one way to do that and the execution of our kicking and chasing was very good," Jones explained.
Some have wondered if Ireland, who have never before got past the World Cup quarterfinals, had peaked too soon, while others have questioned if they can cope with the pressure of the huge expectation they find themselves under.
They have insisted this is not the case, but Schmidt's post-match comments suggested his confidence had been shaken. The master tactician, who will step down after the World Cup, spoke of the "emotional bruises" sustained at the Aviva.
"The result tonight will be a challenge to our confidence because you get used to having that winning feeling and it's pretty hollow right now," Schmidt admitted.
But Jones had a warning for anyone seeking to write off Ireland prematurely. "They are a top team who are well drilled by an outstanding coach. I don't think that has changed in one game."