Shohei Ohtani mural unveiled in Little Tokyo ahead of Dodgers' home opener

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Thursday, March 28, 2024
Shohei Ohtani mural unveiled in Little Tokyo
A new Shohei Ohtani mural was unveiled in Little Tokyo.

LITTLE TOKYO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A new Shohei Ohtani mural was unveiled in Little Tokyo Wednesday one day before the Los Angeles Dodgers' home opener.

The Little Tokyo community unveiled the massive painting of Ohtani that covers the side of the Miyako Hotel.

"I can't imagine a mural like this living anywhere else but Little Tokyo," said Robert Vargas, the Boyle Heights artist who painted the mural freehand in just 13 days.

The mural sports two portraits of the two-way star - one batting and one pitching - and stretches 15 stories in height and 60 feet wide.

"It's truly an inspiring piece," said Christian Hosei, a lifelong friend of Vargas.

Beneath the mural is a QR code for fans to scan into a smartphone and then see the mural come to life.

The timing of the mural's release is not picture perfect after Ohtani was caught up in the middle of a multi-million dollar gambling scandal involving his longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.

Ohtani held a news conference Monday saying he was victimized by the interpreter and has not gambled on baseball or any other sports.

"It is what it is, and I'm just enjoying this piece of artwork that was done by my buddy," Dodger fan Abraham Boche said.

The man who painted the mural is standing by Ohtani and is sure that he'll come out clean.

"Nothing has been proven to diminish our support of Shohei," Vargas said.

The Dodgers home opener is Thursday at Dodger Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals.