Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, has died at aged 60.
As reported by NHK, a body was reported “drifting prone” off the coast of Okinawa, Japan on Wednesday morning. A firefighter was called out to attend the scene, but Takahashi was later pronounced dead and identified today (July 7).
Takahashi was reportedly found with snorkelling equipment, and The Japan Times says the coast guard is looking into the cause of his death.
Takahashi is best known as the author of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, which was published in 1996. The success of the manga led to Konami creating the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game in 1999, with the help of Takahashi. The card game also spawned several video games, the latest of which was Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.
There were also a number of Yu-Gi-Oh! anime adaptations, as the popularity of the ’90s series allowed for a number of follow-up shows and films.
Takahashi remained involved with the franchise until his death, and in 2015 Comic-Con presented Takahashi an Inkpot Award for his influential work, which he was “deeply honoured” to receive.
Since news of his death broke, fans have taken to Twitter to share tributes.
Takahashi-sensei was such a free spirit. He would make an animation because he felt like it, he would learn how to make a 2.5D drawing in VR because he felt like it, he would come out of retirement and make a volume of a manga because he felt like it. Nobody could hold him back.
— Kazuki Takahashi (高橋 和希) Art (@TakahashiArtYGO) July 7, 2022
Rest in peace Kazuki Takahashi.
Your creation was the cornerstone of my childhood and my life today. And the lives of so many others around the world.
You will be forever remembered. pic.twitter.com/xROtqoCzZ6
— Team APS (@TeamAPS) July 7, 2022
“This man literally shaped an entire generation of childhoods, including my own. It’s so incredibly sad to see amazing minds taken from us so suddenly and tragically,” shared YouTuber Joseph ‘TheAn1meMan’ Bizinger.
“Rest in Peace, Kazuki Takahashi-sensei. Your manga has always and will always continue to inspire us for generations to come. We will take the messages you imparted onto the world through your art and live with them until we see you again,” posted a fan page for Takahashi.
“Regardless of if you grew up with Yu-Gi-Oh or not, if you only played the card game or only read the manga, if you watched the anime in English or in Japanese, we were all brought together by one man’s passion. He’ll always be alive in our hearts,” the page added.