KUALA LUMPUR, October 13 — A United States Army officer based in Okinawa, Japan, has revealed that the late creator of famous Japanese manga series Yu-Gi-Oh! died a hero.

Yomitan Torii Station 10th Support Group deputy operations officer Major Robert Bourgeau, shared the revelation after he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal following his July 4 rescue effort on at the Mermaid’s Grotto in Onna reported Stars and Stripes.

The medal recognises acts of heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.

According to Bourgeau, the 60-year-old Kazuki Takahashi, had attempted to aid him without him knowing, during the three people rescue mission.


Takahashi’s body was found off the coast of Nago city in Okinawa, Japan on the morning of July 6 wearing snorkelling gear.

His death was believed to be the result of a snorkelling accident then, with foul play quickly ruled out by local authorities.

Bourgeau, a scuba diving instructor had met with a pair of students at Mermaid’s Grotto at around 2pm on the day of the incident and had spotted a Japanese woman calling for help.


The woman then pointed towards her 11-year-old daughter and a US soldier who were trapped in a rip tide around 90 metres from the shore.

According to him, the rip tide was sucking the pair out, but incoming six-foot waves were crashing on them, creating a whirlpool effect.

As one of his students made their way to the snorkelers through shallow waters and another to alert emergency services, Bourgeau jumped into the rip tide and swam straight for the girl.

He was quickly exhausted as he brought the girl towards shallow waters which is when he saw the girl’s mother had somehow been sucked into the swirling waters as well.

“I grabbed mom and I grabbed (the girl) and I just kicked for all life.”

Bourgeau managed to bring the woman and daughter to the shallow water and went back to save the soldier from the whirlpool.

Exhausted, he managed to direct the soldier to shallow waters, as he used his remaining strength to swim ashore.

The US Officer then said that at some point during the rescue, his students caught glimpses of Takahashi joining in the rescue effort but disappeared beneath the waves.

“This guy had a huge impact on the world.

“He’s a hero. He died trying to save someone else,” Bourgeau said.

According to a Japan Coast Guard spokesman, Takahashi’s body was found two days after the incident about 1,000 feet offshore in Awa, Nago city.

His rental car was later found at Mermaid’s Grotto.

Although the spokesman declined to confirm Takahashi’s involvement in the rescue attempt, several sworn witness statements provided by the Army have detailed the beloved manga creator’s involvement in the rescue attempt.

The 60-year-old Japanese icon was known and beloved in the world of manga, anime, and tabletop gaming and was famously known for his 1996 manga Yu-Gi-Oh! which spawned a massively popular trading card game of the same name.