Two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, Japan Series-winning manager Akinobu Okada and World Baseball Classic-winning skipper Hideki Kuriyama were honored by the Matsutaro Shoriki Award selection committee on Tuesday.

Okada, who managed the popular Hanshin Tigers to their second Japan Series championship and the club's first since 1985, received the Shoriki Award for the year's greatest contribution to professional baseball, while Ohtani and Kuriyama received special awards.

The Shoriki Award is named after the man who was the driving force behind the creation of Japan's first pro baseball league and, in recent years, has been handed out mostly to the winning manager of the Japan Series.

Kuriyama, who won the 2016 Shoriki Award as manager of the Japan Series champion Nippon Ham Fighters, became the first Japan WBC championship manager not to win the top prize.

Combined photo shows (L-R) Hanshin Tigers manager Akinobu Okada (Kyodo), Hideki Kuriyama (Kyodo) and Shohei Ohtani (Getty/Kyodo). 

He assembled a team that included Major League Baseball players such as Ohtani, Yu Darvish, Masataka Yoshida and Lars Nootbaar, leading them to Japan's first championship since 2009.

"This is a great honor, and I could not be more pleased," he said of the special award in a statement released by the national team.

"I'd be so happy if we were able to move the hearts of so many people after the MLB players, including Darvish and Masataka, and my fellow honoree Shohei, gave everything of themselves despite their severe schedules."

It was the second award for Ohtani, the WBC MVP and the 2023 American League home run leader.

"This is a recognition of my results this season and our WBC championship, and it's an honor to win," Ohtani said in a statement.

"I feel happy to receive this award with manager Kuriyama, who was with me (during my years) at Nippon Ham and also with the national team."

Koji Yamamoto, who served as chairman of the selection committee made up of former players, said, "Manager (Okada) has a meticulous nature as a former infielder."

In addition to his WBC exploits, Ohtani won 10 games as a pitcher this year for the Los Angeles Angels while hitting a league-high 44 home runs.

Okada will receive 5 million yen ($33,000) in prize money, while Kurihara and Ohtani will each win 3 million yen.

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