In July, the news broke that Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi had died, with his death officially being recorded as drowning. A recent report from the U.S. military’s newspaper has provided more context surrounding the circumstances of his death (via Kotaku).
Takahashi was best known as the author of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. The success of the manga led to Konami creating the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game in 1999, with Takahashi’s help. The card game also then led to several video games including the most recent one, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.
In a recent report from Stars & Stripes, a U.S. Army officer has been recognised for “rescuing three people from a riptide at a popular Okinawa dive spot in an episode that apparently killed a well-known Japanese manga artist.”
The story, which is in the Department of Defence’s own newspaper, says that 49-year-old Major Robert Bourgeau has been recommended for a Soldier’s Medal for his actions on July 4, where he reportedly spotted three swimmers struggling in a “dangerous riptide” and immediately swam out to rescue them. The swimmers, who were two Japanese citizens, were brought to shore, and the US soldier was directed to safety.
During the rescue, however, it is reported that “several sworn witness statements” say that Takahashi also jumped in to help the struggling swimmers, but that onlookers merely “caught glimpses of him until he disappeared beneath the waves”.
Takahashi’s body was found by the Japanese Coast Guard the following day off the coast of Nago in the northern part of Okinawa. His car was found parked at Mermaid’s Grotto, where the incident took place.
Bourgeau told the newspaper, “He’s a hero,” before adding, “He died trying to save someone else.”
Fans of the series have been speaking out online about the circumstances surrounding Takahashi’s death, with one saying, “It takes courage, selflessness and honour as a human being to put your life on the line for strangers.”