“Shohei Can Relate”: Naomi Osaka Draws Similarities With MLB Star Shohei Ohtani on Being in the Spotlight

Published 01/13/2022, 12:08 PM EST


Japanese athletes like Shohei Ohtani and Naomi Osaka have marked themselves as the fan favorites amongst the American audience, courtesy of their performances in their respective sports. While Naomi has emerged as a tennis icon, Shohei has topped the MLB charts.

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Shohei incredibly claimed his place as the most versatile player in baseball history. Notably, while he’s the American favorite, Shohei also has a huge fan base back in his homeland.

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Naomi Osaka opens up about facing the spotlight as a Japanese athlete

As GQ celebrated Shohei Ohtani’s success, tennis star, Naomi Osaka talked about her career’s similarities with the MLB star. Osaka said, “In the U.S., there are more star athletes across various sports, so the load is a bit more spread out. In Japan, there are fewer Japanese global stars, so the attention is a bit more intense.”

Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates after recording match point Marie Bouzkova of Czech Republic in the first round on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

She further added, ”Earlier in my career, I was much more well known in Japan, where there was a spotlight on me—and that actually helped when I became more successful globally because I was already used to it to an extent. I think Shohei can relate to that.” 

Both of them are a huge influence on the Japanese crowd, as they’ve made history on foreign soil.

Shohei Ohtani wants to take baseball to the top

Los Angeles Angels’ star, Shohei Ohtani, delivered his best season in 2021, not only making his name in hitting but in pitching as well. Now, the 27-year-old wants to make baseball the most popular American sport.

Sep 25, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) sprints to first base on his way to a triple against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

“Baseball was born here, and I personally want baseball to be the most popular sport in the United States. So if I can contribute in any way to help that, I’m more than open to it,” Ohtani said.

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He also accepted that the popularity of baseball around the world is less compared to soccer and basketball. Albeit, in America and Japan, the fan base is unbelievably huge.

Do you think in the 2022 season, Shohei can help baseball become the most popular American sport?

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Shreya Verma

581 articles

Shreya Verma is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. A post-graduation student in political science, Shreya is also a professional 10m air pistol shooter. Taking after her athlete father, she was naturally inclined towards the athletic life.

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