It’s a sad day for the world of trading card games. The creator of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, Kazuki Takahashi, was found dead at age 60.
As NHK reports, via The Japan Times, Kazuki Takahashi’s body was discovered floating in the sea near Nago, in the Okinawa Prefecture, on Wednesday morning. According to a city official, he was wearing a T-shirt and an underwater mask, a snorkel, and fins. Takahashi was reportedly out on a solo trip to the popular diving location.
Takahashi has reportedly sustained injuries to his lower body and abdomen. It is believed these were caused by sharks or other marine animals. The Japanese coast guard has confirmed they are “looking into the cause of death.”
The Legacy of Kazuki Takahashi
Kazuki Takahashi (real name Kazuo Takahashi) first began their manga career in 1982. First working as an artist on the titles Fighting Hawk and Tennenshoku Danji Buray, Takahashi did not find success until 1996. In 1996, Yu-Gi-Oh! was born.
The original Yu-Gi-Oh! manga ran in the weekly Japanese comic magazine “Shonen Jump” between 1996 and 2004. During this time, Takahashi also outlined the card game that would later become the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game. Originally, the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game was known as “Magic & Wizards” in the manga. This was a reference to both Magic: the Gathering and its creator Wizards of the Coast.
Following countless letters to the Shonen Jump magazine asking about the Magic & Wizards game, Takahashi decided to expand upon it. This led to the creation of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game which was published originally by Bandai. Konami would later take on publishing rights in 1999.
Alongside inspiring the titular trading card game, Takahashi’s manga was also adapted into an anime series. Originally airing in Japan in April 2000, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime would later receive an English dub in 2001. This English-language version of the series proved incredibly popular, catapulting the popularity of the TCG. The original anime ran for 244 episodes. However, several spin-off series’ have also been created.
Since its original publication 24 years ago, Yu-Gi-Oh! has become one of the world’s most popular trading card games. Earlier in 2022, Konami launched Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel on PC, mobile, and consoles. This version of the TCG has proven to be incredibly popular, at one point even reaching over 200,000 concurrent players on Steam alone.