When Shohei Ohtani hits a home run, his team mates would put a kabuto helmet. While this is a symbol of the samurai warrior, many Japanese associate the headgear with happy childhood memories.
It has been customary for boys to get a set of samurai symbolism, including the kabuto helmet, when they are infants, from parents and grandparents. These would be typically displayed in special festivities in May. The kabuto helmet would represent wishes for an audacious and successful life.
With the growth of more gender neutral awareness, perhaps these customs are losing momentum. Still, for many Japanese, the kabuto helmets are symbols of happy and blessed childhood, rather than the literal ethos of the samurai clan, which disappeared from the Japanese society with modernization more than 150 years ago.
Every time Shohei Ohtani wears the kabuto helmet, those versed in the tradition of Japan would remember a childhood surrounded by well-wishers. In that sense, Ohtani's kabuto helmet performance is a celebration of the inner child alive in each one of us.