The U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported on Tuesday that Yu-Gi-Oh! manga creator Kazuki Takahashi died trying to aid a U.S. Army officer in saving three people who were caught in a riptide at Mermaid’s Grotto in Onna, Okinawa.
U.S. Army Major Robert Bourgeau, a diving instructor, was trying to save an 11-year old girl, her mother, and a U.S. soldier who were trapped in a rip current about 100 meters from shore on July 4. Bourgeau was unaware that Takahashi tried to aid him in the rescue.
Bourgeau said Takahashi entered the water during the rescue, but he did not see Takahashi during the ordeal. Bourgeau’s diving students, whom he had met with just after 2:00 p.m. that day, caught glimpses of Takahashi until he disappeared beneath the waves.
The spokesman for Japan Coast Guard declined to confirm that Takahashi indeed participated in the rescue attempt, but several sworn witness statements provided by the Army detailed his actions that day. Takahashi’s autopsy also concluded that he died of drowning, and that there were no signs of foul play.
Bourgeau was recognized by the U.S Army for saving the three people. His command nominated him in September for the Soldier’s Medal, which recognizes acts of heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. Bourgeau said Takahashi is a hero and that “he died trying to save someone else.”
Takahashi’s Yu-Gi-Oh! manga ran in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1996 to 2004. The manga launched an international hit franchise that continues to this day with card games, anime, toys, and newer manga series. Takahashi won Comic-Con International’s Inkpot Award in July 2015. The award recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to comics, science fiction and fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom.
Takahashi also drew The Comiq manga, which comemmorated the 50th anniversary of Shueisha‘s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 2018. Viz Media published the manga digitally. Takahashi drew the Secret Reverse Marvel Comics manga collaboration, which Viz Media also released.
Source: Stars and Stripes (Matthew M. Burke)