Japanese baseball star reveals wife’s identity after shock marriageon March 15, 2024 at 3:10 am

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Shohei Ohtani shares a photo with Mamiko Tanaka for the first time as his team heads to South Korea.

Shohei Ohtani and Mamiko TanakaImage source, LA Dodgers

Japanese baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani has unveiled the identity of his new wife after weeks of speculation.

The Los Angeles Dodgers star shared a photo Mamiko Tanaka, a former basketball player, for the first time on his Instagram on Thursday.

The newlyweds are seen in front of an airplane as the team makes its way to South Korea as part of the Major League Baseball (MLB) World Tour.

Ohtani did not reveal her identity when he announced their marriage last month.

The 29-year-old also gave no details about their wedding at that time, only describing his Japanese bride as someone “who is very special to me”.

The announcement came as a shock to many and caused a stir on social media, leaving many of his fans guessing who she might be.

That mystery has now been solved.

Tanaka, 27, played for the Fujitsu Red Wave in the Women’s Japanese Basketball League for four seasons before retiring last year, according to CBS News.

On Japan’s internet, fans and the public have reacted warmly to her reveal. Internet sleuths and excited fans had been debating who Ohtani had married for weeks, and her name had come up in discussions.

“Finally we see Mr and Mrs Ohtani!” one user wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. Another user wrote: “She’s so beautiful and they make a perfect couple!”

Also featuring in the picture of the pair on Ohtani’s Instagram story is his fellow Japanese teammate Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The LA Dodgers posted a close-up photo of the newlyweds on social media, next to one of outfielder Mookie Betts and his wife.

They also appear in a video of the team boarding the plane for the South Korean capital of Seoul.

Ohtani and his LA Dodgers team take on the San Diego Padres in a two-game series there next week.

Writing in Korean on his Instagram stories, Ohtani said he “can’t wait”.

He made history in December when he signed a record-breaking 10-year, $700m (£552m) contract – making him one of the world’s highest-earning athletes.

Unlike most players who specialise in batting or pitching, Ohtani is equally skilled at both disciplines, drawing comparisons with American baseball legend Babe Ruth.

He has been given the nickname “Shotime” and has been described as among the world’s best players.

Baseball is hugely popular in Japan and Ohtani is part of a long line of Japanese players to see action in the American league.

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