The creator of history’s best-selling trading card game is hailed as a “hero” after he dies trying to save an American girl off Okinawa.
Kazuki Takahashi, 60, died in July after the tragic accident remained unclear by officials for weeks.
The Japanese coast guard said officials consulted with the late cartoonist’s family, who expressed a desire to downplay Takahashi’s tragedy so as not to divert attention from the young girl’s continued care.
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US Army Major Robert Bourgeau called Takahashi a “hero” in a Tuesday interview with Stars & Stripes, a newspaper for the US military.
Takahashi was snorkeling on the island’s beach, home to a huge US base and military complex, on July 4th. When the young American girl and her parents started screaming for help, Takahashi swam towards them, followed by two US military personnel.
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The family and the military couple managed to return safely to shore, but Takahashi got lost after being swept away by a wave.
Takahashi’s body was found floating about 330 yards off the coast of Okinawa by a person running a maritime leisure business, according to an official at Naha Coast Guard’s Nago Station. His body showed signs of being attacked by a sea creature, possibly sharks, the official said.
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“Yu-Gi-Oh!” debuted in Shonen Jump magazine in 1996, it has become a hit, selling more than 40 million copies as a manga, even though the number of cards in circulation in the world is far greater, in the billions.
The official card game went on sale in 1999. A TV show and video games, as well as characters and toys, were also part of the franchise.
The success of “Yu-Gi-Oh!” in the west it was similar to other Japanese animations and games such as Pokémon.
Pilar Arias of Fox News contributed to this report.