Shohei Otani Celebrates Marriage – Behind Schedule from Hanamaki-Higashi Days, Shares Muscular Photo | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shohei Otani Celebrates Marriage – Behind Schedule from Hanamaki-Higashi Days, Shares Muscular Photo

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At a pep rally for the Japanese high school national team in August 2012. In high school, he had a sweet tooth and ate chocolate banana crepes on his way home from school.

The world was taken by surprise with the sudden announcement.

On February 29th, Shohei Ohtani (29) of the Dodgers updated his Instagram and announced his marriage. The following day, Ohtani responded to reporters’ questions during a press conference. He mentioned that his partner is a Japanese woman he met about three to four years ago and described her as just an ordinary person.

“He answered the questions from the reporters in a calm manner. It seems he’s being considerate of his partner. Even when asked probing questions about proposal words or dates, he avoided giving specific answers, saying, ‘I don’t think there’s a need to say it explicitly.’ With the support of his partner, we can expect even more success from him this season.” (Sports newspaper reporter)

Entering a season of both personal and professional fulfillment, Ohtani’s journey from Hanamaki Higashi High School (Iwate Prefecture) to his early days with the Nippon-Ham Fighters has been captured by “FRIDAY.” Reprinting an article originally published by “FRIDAY Digital” on July 16, 2021, let’s revisit some charming candid photos and take a glimpse at the true face of this world-renowned star (some content has been modified).


A serious injury in his second year of high school that marked a turning point

A shot of Fujinami, both over 190cm tall, in August 2012. Taken in August 2012.

“Ohtani’s origins lie in his third year of high school. It was during that time that he experienced significant growth, which has allowed him to excel on the world stage today. I hope he continues to evolve and overturn the norms of baseball.”

What is this origin that a high school acquaintance speaks of?

“During his second year of high school, Ohtani suffered a serious injury to his left hip joint. From then until the following spring, he didn’t engage in any pitching practice at all. Instead, he focused solely on strengthening his physical fitness. He would eat three large bowls of rice for breakfast and around seven bowls for dinner. Thanks to this, his slender body bulked up to 85kg. His pitching speed, which was around 140km/h, increased to over 150km/h.

By his third year, he had fully recovered. With his lower body stabilized, his control also improved significantly. In batting practice, he started hitting towering home runs with a resounding ‘Crack!’ sound.” (Same source)

He also had a strong sense of rivalry. Especially with the same-age ace pitcher from Osaka Toin High School, Shintaro Fujinami (currently with the Mets), whom he was highly conscious of, according to another acquaintance.

“While he’s usually laid-back, his demeanor completely changes when he steps onto the mound. He and Fujinami were both members of the high school national team and were good rivals. He always said, ‘I want to go to the majors.’ His friends from the local area are proud to see him fulfilling his aspirations and achieving great success.”

During his time at Hanamaki Higashi, Ohtani created a life plan sheet outlining his future goals. Joining the Major Leagues at 18, winning the Cy Young Award at 22, achieving a no-hitter and 25 wins at 25, and getting married at 26 were among them. While it may be three years behind schedule, Ohtani has achieved one of his major personal goals. With his extraordinary performance this season, he is poised to carve out a new chapter in history.

A scene after practice for the Japanese high school national team at the Panasonic Baseball Stadium in Hirakata, Osaka. Fujinami is in the back right. Taken in August 2012.
In the spring of 2013, he was spotted shopping at a convenience store. He bought only one stick of ice cream.
At the World Championships in Seoul, Korea, he was swinging a bat whenever he found time.
At the indoor practice field in Hanamaki-Higashi. Training to strengthen his lower body due to a hip injury.
Nippon Ham’s joint training session for newcomers in January 2001. After practice, he was surrounded by a large number of reporters.
At Nippon Ham’s second training facility in Kamagaya City, Chiba Prefecture, he once held a baby in his arms at the behest of fans (some photos have been doctored).
  • Photographed by Haruki Shimokoshi, Yuji Arakawa

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