A new report revealed that “Yu-Gi-Oh!” creator Kazuki Takahashi died while trying to help a U.S. Army officer in saving three riptide victims in Okinawa, Japan.
The award-winning manga artist was found lying face down and equipped with snorkeling gear. An autopsy report by the Japan Coast Guard confirmed that Takahashi died by drowning. Official U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes published an article on Tuesday reporting that the artist died a hero while trying to save people who were caught in a riptide at a popular diving spot in Okinawa.
On July 4, U.S. Army Major Robert Bourgeau, a diving instructor, was at Mermaid’s Grotto in Onna with his students. Bourgeau reportedly spotted a Japanese mother calling for help for her 11-year-old daughter and a 39-year-old U.S. soldier who were caught in a whirlpool about 100 yards from shore.
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“I grabbed mom and I grabbed [the girl] and I just kicked for all life,” Bourgeau recalled.
The soldier also managed to make it back to shore with the direction of Bourgeau and his students.
At some point, Takahashi also jumped into the water and reportedly attempted to aid in the rescue. Although Bourgeau never saw Takahashi get into the water, his students said that they saw glimpses of him trying to help before he disappeared in the waves.
Takahashi’s body was recovered two days after the incident. His rental car was also found at Mermaid’s Grotto, according to a Japan Coast Guard spokesman.
“He’s a hero,” Bourgeau told Stars and Stripes. “He died trying to save someone else.”
Bourgeau was recognized by the U.S Army for saving the three people. He was nominated in September for the Soldier’s Medal by his command. The medal recognizes acts of heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.
Takahashi is known for his manga series “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” which ran in the comic magazine Weekly Shonen Jump from 1996 to 2004. The manga spawned a renowned media franchise that continues to this day, with TV and movie adaptations, video games and a popular trading card game.