Shohei Ohtani's ex-interpreter's past comes into question as Red Sox, university refute connection: reports

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More mystery surrounds Ippei Mizuhara, now ex-interpreter of Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani, after allegedly stealing $4.5 million from the ballplayer to cover his gambling losses. 

As MLB announced plans to open an investigation into the allegations against Mizuhara, whom the Dodgers parted ways with last week, his past has been dug up, and it’s raising some questions. 

Prior to joining the Dodgers, Ohtani’s stardom was made with the Los Angeles Angels, where Mizuhara was his English-Japanese interpreter from 2018 to 2023. 


Ohtani with interpreter

Shohei Ohtani, right, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, speaks to the media with the help of his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during DodgerFest a celebration of the upcoming season with live entertainment, behind-the-scenes experiences, food, drinks and meeting the newest Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 3, 2024.  (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

His biography says that Mizuhara graduated from the University of California-Riverside in 2007. However, NBC Sports reported that there’s no record in the university’s database saying so. 

The Athletic also had a spokesman from the university say that “records do not show a student by the name of Ippei Mizuhara having attended UC Riverside.”

There is also Mizuhara’s past prior to joining Ohtani with the Angels. 

Mizuhara worked with Hideki Okajima as his English-Japanese interpreter for the Boston Red Sox in 2010, which multiple outlets reported. 


However, the Red Sox themselves dispute that, as their media guide from that year credits two other interpreters being around Okajima. 

“We are reaching out to all of you because of reports in various outlets stating that Ippei Mizuhara worked for the Red Sox as an interpreter, which is incorrect,” the Red Sox said, per The Athletic. 

“Mizuhara was never employed by the Boston Red Sox in any capacity and was not an interpreter for Hideki Okajima during the pitcher’s time with the team.”

Other than MLB, the IRS has also opened an investigation into Mizuhara. 

Ohtani and interpreter at conference

Shohei Ohtani and Ippei Mizuhara of the Los Angeles Dodgers look on during the Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Dodgers Press Conference at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, December 14, 2023, in Los Angeles, California.  (Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

As the investigations take place, speculation about what exactly happened with this case between Mizuhara and Ohtani has flooded the baseball world, especially considering that the former claimed first that the latter was knowingly covering his gambling debts. Then, Ohtani’s attorneys retracted the statement given by Mizuhara to ESPN, saying the $4.5 million was stolen. 

The Dodgers released a statement about the allegations, saying they were “gathering information.”

“The team can confirm that interpreter Ippei Mizuhara has been terminated,” the statement from the team added. 

“I never bet baseball,” Mizuhara, who said he bet on international soccer, NBA and NFL games, said via ESPN. “That’s 100 percent. I knew that rule. . . . We have a meeting about that in spring training.”

Ippei Mizuhara looks up

Japanese baseball player Shohei Ohtani (C) poses with his agent Nez Balelo (L) and Japanese interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during a press conference on his presentation after signing a 10-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California on December 14, 2023. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)


Ohtani remains on the Dodgers’ roster heading into Opening Day later this week. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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