Ippei Mizuhara, Shohei Ohtani’s long-time interpreter, was fired Wednesday after allegedly being accused of a “massive theft” from the Dodgers superstar to pay an illegal bookmaker in California, according to the Los Angeles Times. Mizuhara, however, told ESPN that Ohtani had willingly paid off his debts to the reported tune of more than $4.5 million.

While the gambling scandal is sure to continue evolving, here are six things to know about Mizuhara.

Who is Ippei Mizuhara, Shohei Ohtani's interpreter fired amid gambling  accusations? - Yahoo Sports

1. In 2013, Mizuhara met Ohtani while serving as the interpreter for the English-speaking players on the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Nippon Professional Baseball League. “I’ve known Shohei since he was 18, and when I first saw him, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this guy’s unreal,'” Mizuhara told Sports Illustrated in 2021.

2. When Ohtani moved to MLB and signed with the Angels in 2017, he brought Mizuhara along with him as his personal interpreter. “They’ve transcended friendship into brotherhood, truly. It sounds dumb, but it’s true,” then-Angels first baseman Jared Walsh told ESPN in 2023.

3. During the 2021-22 lockout, MLB employees were barred from communicating with players. Mizuhara quit the team so he could remain in contact with Ohtani, then was re-hired after owners lifted the lockout.

Shohei Ohtani's interpreter was fired. Here's what we know.

4. Mizuhara is more than just an interpreter: he served as Ohtani’s catcher during the 2021 Home Run Derby and picked up groceries for him when he was stuck at home recovering from injuries in 2019 and 2020.

5. When Ohtani left for the Dodgers in free agency this past offseason, Mizuhara went with him, but not before reaching out to the Angels fans. “Cannot thank you guys enough for all the support for the last six years. Really really gonna miss you guys, and I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart,” he wrote on Instagram. “It has been a great pleasure being part of the Angels family.”
Shohei Ohtani's interpreter Ippei Mizuhara fired by Dodgers amid  allegations of 'massive theft'

6. Since the scandal broke, questions about Mizuhara’s biography have arisen. The Angels’ media guide during Ohtani’s tenure relayed that Mizuhara had graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2007, but the school told NBC Los Angeles that it had no record of his attendance. It’s unclear if he could have been registered under another name. The Red Sox have also since denied that Mizuhara worked for the team as a translator for Hideki Okajima, which had long been reported and is listed on a bio from his high school. Several news outlets reported that Mizuhara was supposed to serve as the translator for Okajima with the Yankees for the 2012 season, but the pitcher failed his physical in spring training.