Creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! manga comic, Kazuki Takahashi, found dead at sea
Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga comic and trading card game, has died, apparently while snorkelling in south-western Japan.
The body of Mr Takahashi, 60, was found on Wednesday floating about 300 metres off the coast of Okinawa, the coast guard said on Friday.
According to an official at the Naha Coast Guard Nago station, the artist’s body was found by a person running a marine leisure business.
The body was found, face down in the water and wearing a snorkelling mask, by officials from the coast guard and fire department. He may have been dead for a day or two, according to the coast guard official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because their job did not allow them to be quoted by name.
The body showed signs of being attacked by a marine creature, possibly sharks, but the cause of death was still under investigation, the official said.
Mr Takahashi was identified after police in another part of Okinawa contacted the coast guard on Thursday, saying a rented car had been found abandoned on a beach.
The car had a driver’s licence, confirming the identity. Mr Takahashi’s real first name was Kazuo. His family was contacted and identified him, the coast guard official said.
His comic Yu-Gi-Oh! became a hit after its 1996 debut in Shonen Jump magazine, selling more than 40 million copies as manga, although the number of cards out in the world is far greater.
The official card game went on sale in 1999. A TV show and video games followed, as well as figurines and toys.
There was an outpouring of mourning on social media for Mr Takahashi.
Fans around the world posted their cards and manga images online in tribute. Some noted that was how they had become interested in Japan. People recalled how the cards had helped them make their first friends.
“We are deeply grateful for the wonderful ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ universe that he has created, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time,” the London-based YuGiOhNews account said on Twitter and on its official site.
When a Yu-Gi-Oh! event was held at a Tokyo baseball stadium in 1999, so many children and parents came to buy the cards, organiser game-maker Konami had to call in riot police.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is played by having two people facing off and placing cards from their deck with different powers to try and defeat the other. Each player starts out with 8,000 “life points”, which get chiselled away as your cards lose.
The main character is a doe-eyed boy with spiky blond hair called Yugi Muto, an expert at card games. Yu-Gi-Oh means “king of games”.
The success of Yu-Gi-Oh! in the West was similar to that of other Japanese animation and game works like Pokémon.