The Japanese Coast guard, on Oct 14, 2022, confirmed that Yu-Gi-Oh! manga author Kazuki Takahashi died trying to save a child who was caught in a riptide.
On July 4, a family of three were caught in a riptide off the coast of Apogama beach in Onna Village, Okinawa Prefecture. While mother managed to return to the shore safely, the girl and her father were caught in the bad current and swept away.
A U.S. Army officer, Maj. Robert Bourgeau, who was also the scuba diving instructor, and a student of his were called for help by the mother. Unbeknownst to Bourgeau, who had already entered the raging waters to rescue the pair, Takahashi too joined the rescue process.
Takahashi was spotted participating in the rescue operation by onlookers, including Bourgeau’s student.
Bourgeau managed to save the 11-year-old daughter, and her mother, who at some point was sucked in again into the current. The father, who was also a US army soldier, found his way to the shore on his own. However, Takahashi was nowhere to be found after the rescue.
His rental car was found near Apogama.
“Mr. Takahashi entered Apogama in Onna Village, Okinawa Prefecture, to rescue a girl who had drifted out to sea, and then disappeared, resulting in a maritime accident,” the statement from Japanese Coast Guard’s Heardquarters said.
Kazuki Takahashi’s body was found two days later floating about 300 metres off the coast of Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture.
The Yu-GI-Oh author’s involvement in the incident was reported initially by Stars and Stripes. The coast guard had refrained from making an announcement keeping in mind the girl’s well-being.
The authorities had initially stated that Takahashi was snorkeling alone near Onna village.
Takahashi started as a manga artist in 1982. His first work was Tokiō no taka published in 1990. One of his earliest works, Tennenshoku Danji Buray was published from 1991 to 1992 and lasted two volumes.
Takahashi’s Yu-Gi-Oh! manga was serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump between September 1996 and March 2004. The manga series has spawned a media franchise that includes multiple spin-off manga and anime series, a trading card game, and numerous video games.