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1st Run of Shōhei Ohtani's Picture Book Soar in Price After His Disgraced Interpreter Is Airbrushed Out

posted on by Ken Iikura-Gross
And it wasn't the Ministry of Truth that spirited him away

Shōhei Ohtani will undoubtedly go down as one of the most well-known, if not one of the greatest, baseball players due to his skills as a pitcher and batter. His current 10-year, 700-million-dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers reflects this. Unfortunately, Ohtani was recently caught up in a scandal involving his (now former) interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. Mizuhara allegedly embezzled almost US$17 million dollars from a bank account under Ohtani's name.

Shockingly, this news came just before the release of a children's book following the life of Ohtani. While this doesn't seem all that important at first glance, the first printings of the book happen to include a picture of Mizuhara. However, the disgraced interpreter has been removed from later printings.

Image via www.amazon.co.jp

The Yakyū Shiyō ze Ohtani Shōhei Monogatari (Let's Play Baseball: The Shōhei Ohtani Story) book launched on March 30 and quickly sold out. However, readers were quick to notice Mizuhara appears on the page where Ohtani accepted his Dodgers uniform.

"You can do anything‼"

Along with a message to children
From the global sensation Shōhei Ohtani,
A picture book based on the life story of Shōhei Ohtani📚

⚾️Let's Play Baseball: The Shōhei Ohtani Story

It appears there was some backlash to the inclusion of Mizuhara. X (formerly Twitter) user tak posted an unconfirmed image of an Amazon Japan review of the book which reads, “On page 24, there is an image of the villain (Ippei) who caused a stir all over the world, which is not good for children's education.” This tweet was in response to X user セッキ (Sekki) posting an image of separate printings of the book: one where Mizuhara is present and another where he is not.

Ippei has been removed from Otani's picture book lol

Japanese sites Sponichi Annex and Livedoor reported on April 19 that the book's publisher Sekai Bunka Holdings confirmed Mizuhara had indeed been removed from the book after discussions with Ohtani's representatives. Sponichi Annex and Livedoor noted that the third printing released in mid-April no longer includes Mizuhara.

Where does this leave the copies that do include Mizuhara? They have sold on Japanese sites for up to five times the original 1,760 yen (about US$11) price, although prices have settled to less than twice the cover price, as of May 12.

Amazon Japan does not currently display a review with the "villain (Ippei)" text above, but three reviewers were happy they received the copies from the first printings — and one reviewer is "kinda sad" to get Mizuhara-less version.

There is certainly a sense of rewriting history with the erasure of Mizuhara from the picture book. However, this isn't a political body purposefully doing it, but rather a company doing so to preserve the image of Ohtani. Whether or not this is an ethical decision is a wholly different question, though. It'll be interesting to see in a few years if the books with Mizuhara still command some prestige with collectors.

Sources: Sekai Bunka Holdings' X/Twitter account, Amazon Japan, Sponichi Annex, Livedoor News, Sekki's X/Twitter account, tak's X/Twitter account via Hachima Kikо̄ (link 2), The Asahi Shimbun

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