Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter Scandal: Unraveling Allegations of Gambling and Theft

Shohei Ohtani interpreter scandal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a startling turn of events, the Los Angeles Dodgers terminated the contract of Ippei Mizuhara, the interpreter and longtime companion of Shohei Ohtani, the team’s star player with a staggering $700 million deal, just seven days ago.

As the baseball season commences with the Dodgers set to face the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, the scandal surrounding Mizuhara continues to grip the sport with its intricate layers of alleged misconduct including gambling, theft, and betrayal of trust.

Here’s a breakdown of the ongoing saga as the Dodgers gear up for their home opener:


According to Ohtani, Mizuhara, his close confidant, confessed to repeatedly siphoning funds from Ohtani’s accounts to fuel his illicit gambling pursuits. Ohtani claims complete ignorance of the “significant embezzlement,” only learning of it when Mizuhara admitted to the act during the team’s recent trip to South Korea, where they kicked off the season against the San Diego Padres.

Mizuhara’s explanations have been inconsistent, with his troubles reportedly stemming from the IRS’ probe into Mathew Bowyer, an alleged illegal bookmaker. Mizuhara has admitted to struggling with a gambling addiction and admitted to exploiting his relationship with the Dodgers superstar to fuel his habit.

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The pivotal question in Major League Baseball’s investigation revolves around Ohtani’s involvement in sports wagering. Ohtani vehemently denies any participation in sports betting or soliciting others to bet on his behalf.

Moreover, Ohtani asserts that he has never knowingly settled debts for bets placed by others. Mizuhara initially claimed that Ohtani covered his gambling debts upon request, allegedly involving international soccer, NBA, NFL, and college football matches. However, Mizuhara later retracted this statement, asserting that Ohtani had no knowledge of the bets or financial transactions with bookmakers.

MLB regulations strictly prohibit players and team personnel from betting on baseball or other sports through illegal or offshore bookmakers.


Despite the tumultuous circumstances, Ohtani has continued to participate in Dodgers games following the revelation. He is anticipated to assume the role of designated hitter for most of the regular season while MLB conducts its inquiry.

Ohtani’s legal representatives have notified authorities of Mizuhara’s purported theft, although specific agencies involved remain undisclosed.

Will Ireton, a seasoned Dodgers staff member proficient in Japanese, has assumed the role of Ohtani’s new interpreter. However, Ireton’s duties will not mirror those of Mizuhara, and manager Dave Roberts anticipates Ohtani fostering closer relationships with teammates without the intermediary presence provided by Mizuhara.


MLB’s investigation into Ohtani’s involvement in the scandal may extend over several weeks or months, with findings likely to remain confidential until completion. The severity of any potential consequences remains speculative, with only those within Ohtani’s inner circle privy to pertinent details.

Key questions persist regarding Mizuhara’s access to Ohtani’s financial accounts and the potential oversight by Ohtani’s management team, including his agent, in preventing such misconduct.

Furthermore, Mizuhara’s whereabouts remain a mystery, with no confirmation of his location since his dismissal in South Korea. Japanese media outlets have attempted to trace him to his residence in Southern California, highlighting the enduring impact of the scandal on Mizuhara’s life.

As the investigation unfolds, the baseball community awaits clarity on the full extent of the allegations and their implications for both Ohtani and the Dodgers organization.

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