Public broadcaster NHK reported that Takahashi’s body was found in the sea, about 300 meters off the coast of Nago in Okinawa Province. It reported that he was wearing snorkeling equipment at the time.
The body was identified as Takahashi’s on Thursday after the Japan Coast Guard connected it to a white rental car that had been abandoned some 12 kilometers away. The Coast Guard said that Takahashi had traveled to Okinawa alone. His body bore no noticeable sign of injury and an investigation into the cause of his death has now begun.
Takahashi’s agency Studio Dice turned the artist’s web page black.
Takahashi, whose real name is Takahashi Kazuo, and is also known as Kazumasa, started as a manga artist in the early 1980s, but did not achieve great success until he created the “Yu-Gi-Oh!” a comic series for boys in 1996. The series focuses on a boy who solves an ancient puzzle and awakens in himself a gaming alter-ego.
The manga was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine and spawned a hit anime series and an animated film.
Even more significantly, it led to the creation of a trading card game in which players battle against each other. Intended as a one-off, the game was first published by Bandai and later by Konami and became a worldwide phenomenon with national and international competitions. It was certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the trading card game with the world’s highest sales.
Takahashi continued to supervise the manga, and wrote and drew other works including Comiq, a series to commemorate Weekly Shonen Jump’s 50th anniversary in 2018. In 2015, Takahashi received Comic-Con International’s Inkpot Award, recognizing an individual who has made outstanding contributions to comics, science fiction and fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom.
In April, FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, acquired the North American rights to a large swath of Japanese anime titles, headlined by more than 800 episodes of “Yu-Gi-Oh!”