Japan's Rugby World Cup dream is over - smothered by a relentlessly pragmatic green blanket of a South African side, but the legacy must remain and surely will.
The Boks are through to a semifinal against Wales next weekend in what, on the evidence of tonight in Oita and Tokyo, will be a battle of the predictable, but Rassie Erasmus' men deserve credit for they had to work very hard to subdue the host nation, a side who have become everyone's second-favourite team.
In the end they were killed off by the slow drip of Handre Pollard's three second-half penalties and Faf de Klerk's try which came directly from a lineout drive, a problem area for Jamie Joseph's men. Makazole Mapimpi's second, after his first early in the match, confirmed what we already knew.
So, farewell then, Japan. Their players and their Kiwi coaches Joseph, Tony Brown and Scott Hansen have given a lot to this tournament and this proud nation. They were inventive, accurate and a little crazy at times. They also played at a higher pace than just about any other team apart from the All Blacks here.
The concept of hard work in Japan is not so much admired but treasured. It's why it's so acceptable to sleep on the train after a hard day in the office; giving your all for the company and then slumping forward or backwards on a packed carriage – standing or sitting, it doesn't matter – while loosely clutching a briefcase is seen as only right and proper.
It's probably why Joseph has done so well here. Japanese athletes expect to work to exhaustion on the training field and rugby is no different. That's right up Joseph's alley. In fact it's his modus operandi; his conditioning sessions at Wellington and the Highlanders became notorious and the ability for his Brave Blossoms to play at a tempo no one else can is their ultimate weapon.
They owned the final quarters of their games here; first punishing Ireland, then Manu Samoa and Scotland to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time, but didn't win enough ball and territory to do it again. It's a measure of how far they've come that they will be very disappointed in their performance last night.
Led by Kiwi Michael Leitch and represented especially well by their little wings Kotaro Matsushima and Kenki Fukuoka, they were the free radicals in red and white jerseys and, in the first half at least, they looked in trouble only when the game became static.
Lineouts, the occasional scrum, the South African driving maul… those were their Achilles heel but the Boks couldn't win enough territory or possession in the first half to be able to dictate terms.
Wynne Gray: The Englishman with the key to unlocking the All Blacks
Gregor Paul: The truth everyone missed about the All Blacks
Patrick McKendry: Beat England and World Cup as good as won for ABs
In fact, the irrepressible running and offloading game was contagious so they gave it a crack too, despite, and this is a sentence you wouldn't expect to read before this World Cup, initially they weren't in Japan's class at it.
Fullback Willie Le Roux has been a great Springbok – even last year he was tying the All Blacks in knots – but here he looked old and out of ideas.
Even little livewire Cheslin Kolbe struggled to make an impact until late. In fact, halfback de Klerk was by far their best player but, at only 5-3 ahead at halftime, and very lucky not to lose Tendai Mtawarira to a red card (it was very quickly deemed only a yellow by referee Wayne Barnes), it was doubtful whether the Boks could hold on to their advantage.
Another measure of the Boks' desperation was captain Siya Kolisi resorting to calling for yellow cards for what he decided was foul play, referee Barnes telling him: "Please, Siya, be better than that."
It was convincing in the end and, it might pain the romantics, but the Boks deserve to go through.
But it was also the night Japan's dream ended and the tournament is poorer without them.