It was meant to bring Japanese culture into British living rooms as the nation sat down to watch the much-anticipated Rugby World Cup.
But ITV was caught offside when three giants of the game - former Lions and Wales captain Sam Warburton, England great Jonny Wilkinson and Lions and Ireland's former captain Brian O'Driscoll - were spotted wearing shoes on a tatami floor, breaking national custom.
A tatami is a type of mat used in traditional Japanese rooms, which often serve as open sleeping areas or places of study.
When entering a Tatami room, it is custom for people to remove their shoes and socks as a sign of respect.
In a bizarre bid to remind viewers that the World Cup was taking place in Japan, ITV had decorated their London studio with wallpaper adorning cherry blossoms, paper lanterns and even a bonsai tree.
A further annex described as a “demonstration area” was dressed up to look like a Japanese Tatami room.
But Warburton, Wilkinson and O'Driscoll were criticised after the pundits were spotted analysing games in the annex in full footwear on the opening day of the tournament.
Today, the now-retired Wilkinson was back, as the ITV pundit led the studio panel alongside his World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward, Lawrence Dallaglio, the ex-England captain, and presenter Craig Doyle.
To analyse England's opening match against Tonga, the greats wore their finest suits to recreate key phases of play and to the surprise of viewers, this time they wore no shoes.
Wilkinson, who became the darling of England in 2003 for kicking his country to World Cup glory in Australia, stood on live TV in his socks.
The change in attire left many viewers confused, including former England captain Will Carling who tweeted: “Slightly strange watching three ex players in socks and jackets doing a walk through on ITV.
“If England progress maybe later in the tournament they could be in black tie or even smoking jackets?”
Fan Conor Heneghan said: “Probably late to this but are all the ITV pundits in their socks in the studio?”
Another rugby follower Sam Wallace said: "The ITV dojo has to be the weirdest thing I’ve seen in sport coverage in some time.
"Four grown men in suits and socks, looking spectacularly uncomfortable, doing slow motion rugby manoeuvres."
Slightly strange watching three ex players in socks and jackets doing a walk through on ITV. Different !!!! �� - if England progress �� maybe later in the tournament they could be in black tie or even smoking jackets?? #RWC19— Will Carling (@willcarling) September 21, 2019
The studio design itself was hauled over hot coals by viewers too.
Former Scottish national netballer Fiona Moore-McGrath said: “Am I the only one that thinks this rugby commentary on ITV in a Japanese themed studio with no shoes and acting out set plays is pretty cringeworthy?”
One fan even said he would rather go back to bed, writing: “The ITV studio for the Rugby World Cup is some kind of fake ryokan, complete with tatami mats. Jonny Wilkinson is offering analysis in his socks. Might go back to bed.”
Another supporter said that the interior design was “intense” while Steve Harris wrote: “Am loving the rugby, fantastic camera work and audio. Really dislike the tacky ITV studio though.”
“If the World Cup was being held in England, would the other countries mock up a Buckingham palace with beefeaters as presenters?” questioned another viewer.
Japan House London, who are hosting live screenings, told The Daily Telegraph that they were "happy to see the ITV commentators have taken their shoes off on the tatami in their studio".
Ahead of the World Cup, ITV announced that they had designed an interactive studio set in the UK to allow the pundits to demonstrate physical analysis in the programmes, creating a platform for some of rugby’s biggest names to bring viewers “fresh perspectives and insights” into the sport.
Presenter Mark Pougatch explained the annexe to the audience on the opening ceremony show. He said the area was “where we’re going to be illustrating some of the important points of the game, especially for those of you who aren’t regular rugby-watchers”.
But rugby fans have since complained that coverage was dumbed down in order to broaden their audience.
ITV has exclusive broadcasting rights for the next two World Cups - the 2019 event in Japan and 2023 in France.
Viewers can watch almost all of the matches will be on ITV, with the exception of 10 which will be shown on ITV 4.
ITV were approached for comment.