Shohei Ohtani, Valued at $700M, Leads 'Athlete Image' Survey Among Japanese Men

Japanese Baseball Star Shines in Major League Spotlight

by Nouman Rasool
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Shohei Ohtani, Valued at $700M, Leads 'Athlete Image' Survey Among Japanese Men
© Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

In a landmark move that has captured the attention of the sports world, Shohei Ohtani, the renowned two-way Japanese star, inked a staggering $700 million contract with the LA Dodgers. His remarkable performance throughout 2023 has set the stage for monumental expectations in the coming year, despite a temporary setback in his pitching abilities.

Renowned advertising firm Hakuhodo DY Media Partners Inc. recently conducted an extensive "athlete image" survey, placing Ohtani at the pinnacle among Japanese male athletes. This survey, which encompassed the achievements of 2023 and forecasted prospects for 2024, underscored Ohtani's overwhelming popularity and influence.

Ohtani: Dual-Threat Dominance

Ohtani's dual prowess as both a batter and pitcher has earned him accolades, including two AL MVP titles in the past three seasons. His stats are impressive: 86 starts on the mound, a solid 3.01 ERA, and 608 strikeouts over 481.2 innings.

These figures, coupled with his 2023 performance and his record-breaking contract, naturally positioned him at the top of the survey for both current standing and future expectations. Trailing Ohtani in the 2023 performance category were football stars Kaoru Mitoma of Brighton FC and Takefusa Kubo of Real Sociedad.

Meanwhile, Kubo and the highly anticipated MLB entrant Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is rumored to be eyeing a $300 million contract, secured the second and third spots, respectively, in the 2024 expectations category. On the women's front, table tennis sensation Hina Hayata led the 2023 rankings, with swimmer Rikako Ikee, a leukemia survivor, topping the 2024 expectations.

Ikee's inspiring journey and her preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics have captured the nation's heart. The signing of Ohtani has infused the Dodgers' fanbase with a blend of high hopes and anticipation for World Series success in 2024.

The pressure is immense, especially since Ohtani, recovering from elbow surgery, will not be able to pitch until 2025. Though his batting skills remain unchallenged, there's a lingering concern about his future performance as a pitcher.

However, reports suggest optimism about his complete recovery and return to form. Ohtani's transition from the LA Angels to the Dodgers is a pivotal moment in his career. Maintaining his exceptional form is crucial for meeting the high expectations set by his record contract and his adoring fans.

As 2024 approaches, all eyes will be on Ohtani, with the sports world eager to see if he can continue his remarkable trajectory and lead the Dodgers to new heights.

Shohei Ohtani
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