Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani wants to add to his resume in Major League Baseball before accepting an award from his home country of Japan.
Reuters (h/t the Japan Times) reported Japan considered giving Ohtani an award to recognize his accomplishments in the United States as the American League MVP for the 2021 campaign. However, he declined the award at this stage.
"We approached Ohtani's side about giving him the People's Honor Award, but he declined, saying it was still too early," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said. "The impression was that he wants to concentrate to attain still greater heights. We join with the people of Japan to pray for even more success for him in future seasons."
Reuters noted Ohtani became the second Japanese player to win the AL MVP after Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners did so in 2001.
Ohtani won the award as a dominant pitcher and hitter. He slashed .257/.372/.592 with 46 home runs and 100 RBI as a hitter and posted a 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings as a pitcher.
His ability to impact the game in multiple ways separated him from fellow contenders Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien of the Toronto Blue Jays.