“Beans grow where they’re planted, red beans where they’re planted,” they say. Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Angels), who is making major league history, had great parents.
According to Japanese media outlet Money Post, “Ohtani will make more than 8.5 billion yen (about 81 billion won) this year, the most in the major leagues. While some families of top players may find their lives ruined by the money, the Otani family doesn’t seem to have to worry about that.”
This season, Ohtani is earning $30 million 안전놀이터 (about 39.8 billion won) in salary alone and has sponsorship deals with 17 major companies. Most notably, he signed a ¥4 billion ($38 billion) deal with an American fashion brand this year. Since joining the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) as a first-round draft pick in 2012, his income passbook has reportedly been managed by his mother, Kayoko Otani.
However, according to the media, there was no record of any withdrawals from the account. This was due to his parents’ reasoning that their income was enough to live on. The work was ordinary. Their father, Toru Ohtani, was a professional baseball player, and their mother, Kayoko, a former badminton prefectural representative, but now works part-time.
According to Money Post, “Ohtani once asked his mother, ‘How long are you going to work?’ To which Kayoko replied, ‘I can’t depend on you,’ and Toru replied, ‘I can’t ask for food just because my son is successful. They said that they were living their own lives and that was enough. To this day, they have not reached out to Otani.”
It wasn’t just his parents, but also his older brother and sister. Ohtani is the youngest of three, with an older brother six years older and an older sister two years older. Both of them are married, but none of Otani’s money went to their honeymoon home, where his brother took out a loan of more than 30 million yen (about $290 million), or to his sister’s rented house.
Growing up in such a family, Otani also maintains a frugal lifestyle. His current suits and shoes are all sponsored. In addition, the family has refused to do any media interviews since 2018, when his son and brother reached the major leagues. “We don’t want to bother him with family matters. I think they want their son to focus on baseball.”
The family’s efforts paid off. In the major leagues, Ohtani has consistently put up MVP-caliber numbers every year, even with a two-hitter, starting with his American League MVP honors in the 2021 season. On May 25 against the Boston Red Sox, he started at third and designated hitter and hit his 12th home run of the season to lead the Angels to a 7-3 victory. This season, he is 5-1 with a 3.05 ERA in 10 games, striking out 80 batters in 59 innings, and batting .280 with 12 home runs, 33 RBIs, and an OPS of .888 in 49 games.
In addition to his stellar stats, he’s also loved by baseball fans for his personality. With both skill and star power, he is expected to sign a massive free agent contract worth $500 million after this season. According to Money Post, “According to Japanese reporters, Ohtani’s answers and demeanor are always perfect. His choice of words never fails. His personality mesmerizes teammates and fans alike. One U.S. reporter even said that even though he’s still in his 20s, at times he can seem like a saint.”