Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen and Michael Morkov combined brilliantly to edge a thrilling battle for gold in the madison at the Izu Velodrome, but there was disappointment for the Irish pair of Felix English and Mark Downey, who failed to finish after losing a second lap on the bunch.
Accumulating sprint points steadily throughout a brutal 200-lap endurance race, the world champion Danish duo opened up a slender lead over early attackers France in the second half of the race.
They then held on to win with 43 points.
Britain's Ethan Hayter and Matthew Walls put in a storming finish to win the last sprint and move above France into the silver medal position.
They were level on 40 points with the French duo of Benjamin Thomas and Donavan Grondin, but their final sprint win meant they snatched the silver medal.
The French appeared to pay for their massive mid-race attack which failed to land them a lap and settled for bronze.
Speaking after the event to RTÉ Sport, Felix English outlined his disappointment when saying: "It was crazy, we haven't done an event like that before. It was so, so so quick, when it was on it was really, really, really on.
"We didn't have it tonight, we really struggled. It's hard to take because we worked so hard to get here but that's literally all we could do."
On the frenetic nature of the race, Mark Downey did add that "they felt in control" despite riders being spaced out all over the track.
"We haven't raced for a while and there are guys dropping on off the Tour de France here. We knew it was going to be difficult because of the circumstances but we gave it our best.
We got the opportunity in the worlds last year to come here and we wanted to present the best version of ourselves but today was hard."