Yu-Gi-Oh creator Kazuki Takahashi died trying to save drowning swimmers from riptide in Okinawa

Creator of Yu-Gi-Oh Kazuki Takahashi at the San Diego Comic-Con
Kazuki Takahashi at the San Diego Comic-Con. Pic credit: IMDB

The death of Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh, shocked the world earlier this year in 2022. After a brief search, authorities recovered the artist’s body off the shore of Okinawa.

According to a new report by a witness, Takahashi’s final moments appear to have been spent trying to rescue another after a riptide made itself known at Mermaid’s Grotto.

Kazuki Takahashi a legendary hero

According to Stars and Stripes, 49-year-old US Army soldier Maj. Robert Bourgeau has been recommended for the Soldier’s Medal after rescuing three persons from a riptide at Mermaid’s Grotto in Onna, Okinawa on July 4, 202. Unknown to Bourgeau at the time, the 60-year-old Takahashi attempted to assist in the rescue before becoming entangled in the riptide himself.

“You play the ‘what if’ game a lot,” Bourgeau added. “This man had a major impact on the world.”

Maj. Robert Bourgeau at Mermaid's Grotto
Maj. Robert Bourgeau at Mermaid’s Grotto. Pic credit: Stars and Stripes

According to a Japan Coast Guard official, Takahashi’s body was discovered two days later, around 1,000 feet offshore in Awa, Nago city. Takahashi’s rented automobile was eventually discovered in Mermaid’s Grotto.

While a Coast Guard spokeswoman denied corroborating Takahashi’s role in the rescue attempt, the Army submitted many sworn witness testimonies confirming the Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator’s heroic deeds.

Details of the tragic incident of July 4, 2022

On the afternoon of July 4, 2022, Bourgeau, a scuba diving instructor, met two students at Mermaid’s Grotto, with the Army officer describing the conditions as “really, really harsh.” Bourgeau recalls seeing a Japanese woman pleading for help and pointing to her 11-year-old daughter and a 39-year-old US soldier caught in a rip current about 100 yards offshore. Six-foot waves were purportedly crashing on the people, creating a swirling effect.

Bourgeau leapt into the riptide and headed straight for the girl but soon became weary as he tried to bring her back to land. He soon ran into her mother, who had also been dragged into the current. “I grabbed mom and (the girl), and I just pushed for the remainder of my life,” Bourgeau recalled.

Takahashi also entered the water at some point during the incident. While Bourgeau did not see Takahashi during the rescue, his students did catch glimpses of him before he vanished beneath the surging waves. “He’s a hero,” Bourgeau stated of the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! “He died trying to save another person.”

Bourgeau eventually got the mother and her daughter back to the shallows. He was so exhausted that he risked drowning and could not physically rescue the 39-year-old soldier. Bourgeau, on the other hand, was able to guide the soldier out of the vortex, saving his life as well.

The 60 years old Japanese icon was dressed in snorkelling gear. His death was initially thought to be the consequence of a snorkelling incident, with foul play immediately ruled out by local officials.

Takahashi, a well-known name in the world of manga, anime, and tabletop gaming, first published the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga in 1996. The title became a cultural sensation, inspiring a slew of sequels, spinoffs, anime shows, anime films, and, of course, a hugely successful trading card game.

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