Shohei Ohtani, the phenomenal two-way player for the LA Angels, was born in Oshu city and learned to play ball here. This city is known for its production of fresh apples and top-tier beef, which has gotten rave reviews domestically and overseas – and these goods can be purchased in the USA and elsewhere, if you search around. But as his record-breaking games have made him a major figure, you might be wondering about the kind of impact Ohtani’s made on his hometown. The short answer is that Oshu is incredibly proud of Ohtani, and expresses it in all sorts of ways.


First off, Oshu City Hall has established an official Shohei Ohtani Hometown Cheer Squad. It was formed in August 2018, and as the name suggests, the group’s main goal is to root for Ohtani. They carry out a wide range of activities to do this – for one example, Ohtani Day.

            Touching base in the morning on an Ohtani Day.


Since his number is 17, on the 17th of every month, members of the cheer squad will don a red Ohtani shirsey before heading to work. They also do public relations events: when Ohtani won American League MVP in 2021, the squad held a watch party at city hall.

      A full auditorium welcomes the news with noisemakers and streamers.

And their enthusiasm isn’t limited to big announcements – whenever Ohtani has a game, TVs around the building will be broadcasting it. These are just a few of the things that this organization does, and as Ohtani is always making new achievements, they regularly redecorate city hall, post new photos and videos online, and much more. If you’re interested in keeping up with the cheer squad’s operations, I definitely recommend checking out their website and social media channels linked at the end of this article.


Besides the hometown cheer squad’s projects, Shohei’s influence is all around Oshu. If you arrive by bullet train at Mizusawa-Esashi Station, you can see a display of a signed baseball, his uniform from when he played in Japan, and all sorts of other memorabilia.


            Part of the Ohtani display at the station.

             A closer look at some of the memorabilia.

          Nambu wind chimes with messages in support of Ohtani.


Then, supposing that you head to Oshu City Hall, you’ll be greeted by a podium with a metallic replica of Ohtani’s hand in the lobby. (It’s right near the TV and an exhibit of his accomplishments in the current season, so you can take a look at those at the same time too.) It was cast in the traditional metalworking style of nambu tekki, which is one of Oshu’s signature technologies that continue to this day – and like our agricultural goods, can be found abroad as well.

The Angel red podium, with the hand replica ready to shake, plus an autograph.


On a personal note, I hope Ohtani’s influence will cause more people to look into his hometown and realize what a special place it is. If baseball fans have the context of understanding where he came from, I think watching his current successes on the global stage will become that much more enjoyable. He’s reshaped baseball, and his hometown too, both for the better. We here in Oshu are rooting for him as he shines as a two-way star. In the event that you get a chance to visit our city, don’t miss our exhibits and installations that celebrate Shohei Ohtani.


Website and social links:

Hometown Cheer Squad Subsite

Hometown Cheer Squad Facebook


大谷翔平選手へのふるさと応援~It’s Shotime!