Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara Spark Local Paparazzi Frenzy in the Japanese Boom, Targeting Japanese | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara Spark Local Paparazzi Frenzy in the Japanese Boom, Targeting Japanese

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Now, the prime target for local paparazzi is defendant Ippei Mizuhara. Even superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, who has been charged with bank fraud for allegedly stealing over $16 million from Shohei Ohtani’s account, naturally draws significant interest from American media due to his involvement with the superstar. It’s evident from the news coverage in Japan that American media outlets are also swarming around Mizuhara following the developments in this case. 

The “Mizuhara Issue” has turned into a carnival atmosphere, with certain individuals playing a role in spicing up tabloid shows.

It was the paparazzi. They are the ones who follow celebrities to get private shots of them.

It goes without saying, but paparazzi are commonly known as photographers, often freelancers, who stalk and clandestinely photograph celebrities, including Hollywood actors.

“The photos they capture are distributed worldwide through agents. Japanese media frequently purchase these photos and videos taken by paparazzi, using them in magazines and TV programs. Whenever scandals involving Hollywood actors are discussed on tabloid shows, it’s almost guaranteed that photos taken by paparazzi will be used.” (according to a source related to tabloid shows)

In the coverage of Mizuhara’s case this time, many of the shots taken secretly by them were widely used.

“Target the Japanese!”

According to a writer based in America, 

“Recently, with more celebrities and public figures living in America, there’s been an increase in requests for interviews from magazines and TV shows. Since there aren’t always photographers available, we often have to take our own photos. In the past, we used cameras, but now smartphones suffice. With the significant improvement in smartphone camera quality, we can take photos that are comparable to those taken by professional photographers.

However, it’s quite challenging for us to locate and interview celebrities whose whereabouts are unknown. It’s a daunting task to find them in such a vast country like America and stakeout to capture their private moments.”

That’s where the professionals, the paparazzi, come in. However, it’s mentioned that Japanese media outlets don’t directly commission work from them.

“If we were to directly commission them, even if they couldn’t get the shot, they’d demand a substantial fee per day. However, it also costs money to send photographers from Japan just to take photos.” (Wide Show Insider) 

Therefore, their photos are bought through agents, enabling paparazzi to earn greater income as agents find selling opportunities worldwide.

As a result, they constantly pursue internationally renowned actors and celebrities, aiming for private shots. However, there has been a significant recent change in the paparazzi scene.

“Paparazzi primarily targeted Hollywood actors, and various movie and gossip magazines were eager for their photos. Japan was a lucrative market too, as both magazines and television paid considerable amounts for them.


However, recently, there has been less coverage of Hollywood actors in Japan. At this time, when paparazzi noticed the intense media attention on Kei Komuro and Princess Mako in Japan, they realized that photographing Japanese celebrities could also be profitable.” (As mentioned by the writer earlier)

Moreover, Japanese people don’t pick fights with paparazzi like overseas celebrities do, and they calmly let their pictures be taken, making it easier for photographers to work. 


And now, here comes Ippei Mizuhara, the defendant.

Especially considering how much attention he’s getting all over Japan, it’s surprising that we have no idea about his current private life. Many Japanese media outlets are eager for private shots, making Mizuhara a prime target for paparazzi.

“Mizuhara won’t be chased for long, but once the dust settles, Japanese media will surely run segments asking ‘What happened next?’. They’re really eager to find out ‘Where’s Ippei?!’ Some paparazzi even ask, ‘What kind of photos of Japanese people are you looking for?'” (Local TV station staff)

With so many foreigners visiting Japan for inbound tourism, it’s surprising to see the Japanese Boom even in places like this.


  • Interview and text by Hiroyuki Sasaki, entertainment journalist Hiroyuki Sasaki (Entertainment Journalist)

    Born in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. At the age of 31, he became a reporter for FRIDAY and has reported numerous scoops. Since then, he has continued to work mainly for weekly magazines. Currently he also appears on TV and radio as a commentator

  • PHOTO Kojiro Yamada

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles