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Kazuki Takahashi
Takahashi at the 2005 Leipzig Book Fair
Takahashi Kazuo (高橋 一雅)

(1961-10-04)October 4, 1961
DiedJuly 4, 2022(2022-07-04) (aged 60)
OccupationManga artist
Years active1981–2020
OrganizationStudio Dice
Notable workYu-Gi-Oh!
Japanese name
Kanji高橋 和希

Kazuo Takahashi (Japanese: 高橋 一雅, Hepburn: Takahashi Kazuo, October 4, 1961 – July 4, 2022), known professionally as Kazuki Takahashi (高橋 和希, Takahashi Kazuki), was a Japanese manga artist. He made his serial manga debut in 1986, and is best known as the author of Yu-Gi-Oh!, published in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1996 to 2004. The manga spawned a trading card game of the same name, which holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling trading card game of all time.


Early life

Kazuo Takahashi was born in Tokyo on October 4, 1961.[1] Suffering from poor physical health, his interest in drawings had been cultivated from childhood.[2] Until his adolescence, he drew artwork of many manga he enjoyed such as Tiger Mask, Ultraman, Space Battleship Yamato, Mazinger Z, Devilman and Kamen Rider.[3]

Uninterested in his studies,[2][4] Takahashi was shamed by his homeroom teacher as "the poop machine that knows nothing except eating, sleeping and pooping" in front of other students. Angered by the humiliation, Takahashi made up his mind to become a manga artist.[5] While he was a second-year high-schooler, he also aimed to be a background animator of Tezuka Productions and decided to quit the school if he passed the recruitment exam, but he ultimately failed, claiming that his art skill was still undesirable.[6] Takahashi gave his dream of becoming an animator and instead became a designer of corporate logos and banners, which included making designs for pachislot panels,[4][7]. It was at this time he started submitting his manga to publishers.[2][3]


In 1981, at the age of 20,[3] Takahashi's one-shot manga Ing! Love Ball, submitted under the pen name "Hajime Miyabi (雅はじめ, Miyabi Hajime)", won the Shogakukan New Comic Award and was published in Weekly Shōnen Sunday in the same year.[1] His serial debut was in 1986 with Gō-Q-Chōji Ikkiman, an adaptation of the TV sports anime of the same name, published in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine.[1][2] In the meantime, Takahashi experienced extreme poverty as he self-stated that he had a "comfortable life" with the absence of electricity with phone calls, and also made thirty six times of credit card installments in the magazine.[8] George Morikawa, author of Hajime no Ippo, also described his living place from that time as "dilapidated Showa era wooden apartment that people immediately thought of".[7]

After noticing those previous works were unprofitable, Takahashi altered his direction to Shueisha and devoted his efforts.[7] In 1990, his one-shot Tokiō no Taka was published in Weekly Shōnen Jump.[9] Another manga, Tennenshoku Danji Buray, was published in the magazine from 1991 to 1992.[2][10] In 2001 Time and 2002 Time for Kids interview, Takahashi called much of his early works a "total flop".[11][12][13]

In 1996, Takahashi launched Yu-Gi-Oh! under the pen name "Kazuki Takahashi" in Weekly Shōnen Jump, where it was serialized until 2004.[14] The series became a huge success and has sold more than 40 million copies. The series has also received several media adaptations, notably an anime television series and a trading card game developed by Konami,[14] which holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling trading card game in history, with more than 25.1 billion cards sold as of 2011.[15] Takahashi continued to supervise the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise following the end of the original manga's run by passing down the legacy to his previous manga assistants that also become manga artists in later days, such as Akira Itō (Yu-Gi-Oh! R), Naoyuki Kageyama (Yu-Gi-Oh! GX) and Masashi Sato (Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's).[7][9] Takahashi also retrieved his animation dream by giving several attempts on self-creating personal short animations, and also involving in animation productions of Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions.[3][7]

In 2013, his one-shot manga Drump was released in Weekly Shōnen Jump.[16] In 2015, Takahashi received the Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International for his outstanding contributions to comics.[17] In 2018, Takahashi published the limited series The Comiq in Weekly Shōnen Jump.[18] Takahashi also wrote a two-part manga, titled Secret Reverse, for the Marvel × Shōnen Jump+ Super Collaboration, which was released on Shōnen Jump+ in September 2019.[19]


On July 6, 2022, Takahashi was found dead in the water 300 meters (980 ft) off the shore of Nago, Okinawa, by Japan Coast Guard officers following a civilian report from a passing boat.[20] He was found wearing snorkeling gear, and his cause of death was determined to be drowning.[21][22]

It was subsequently reported, first in the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes on October 11, that Takahashi had died in the afternoon of July 4 while assisting in the rescue of three others who were caught in a rip current.[23][24]


Before Takahashi sought out his final art style, he had given several attempts for comical, gekiga and anime styles. There were some notable illustrators such as Drew Struzan, Alphonse Mucha, and Norman Rockwell had given tremendous impacts on Takahashi's later art style, and Yu-Gi-Oh! was the one that showed all of the unique characteristics. He was skilled in both traditional and digital illustrations. His choices of traditional art tools were g-pen, watercolors and Copic markers, whereas Adobe Photoshop and Painter were the art programs he used during post manga serialization.[2][3][4]

Personal life

Takahashi liked to play games such as shogi, mahjong, card games, and tabletop role-playing games.[2][25] In an interview with Shonen Jump, Takahashi stated that his favorite manga from other authors included Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure by Hirohiko Araki, and Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama.[26] He also enjoyed reading American comics,[2] with Hellboy being his favorite American comic book character.[27] His pet dog, a shiba inu named Taro (タロ), was the basis for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game monster card Shiba-Warrior Taro (柴戦士しばせんしタロ); the card's artwork was personally drawn by Takahashi.[28][29] Takahashi also loved to go sea diving and visited Okinawa seaside each July.[30][31]

Takahashi occasionally expressed political opinions with his art. For instance, he once posted a drawing on Instagram of Yu-Gi-Oh! characters criticizing the Shinzo Abe government and asking his followers to "vote for justice" in the 2019 House of Councillors election, for which he later apologized.[32]


As Hajime Miyabi

As Kazuo Takahashi

As Kazuki Takahashi


3 episodes of anime shorts made by Takahashi.

See also


  1. ^ a b c 『遊戯王』の作者・高橋和希さんが死去。沖縄県名護市で遺体となって発見、海上保安署と警察が死亡するまでのいきさつを調査中と報道. Den Fami Nico Gamer (in Japanese). July 7, 2022. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Die Welt von Yu-Gi-Oh!". Banzai!. No. 23. Shueisha. September 2003.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Duel Art, Kazuki Takahashi Yu-Gi-Oh! Illustrations". Internet Archive (in Japanese). Shueisha. December 21, 2011. Archived from the original on December 21, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c US Shonen Jump Magazine (February 2003). Archived in Taretare 和希の素 語録.[1]
  5. ^ Yu-Gi-Oh! tankobon vol. 28
  6. ^ Original from Studio Dice blog, now deactivated. @Kazuki_bot_ygo (March 5, 2022). 実はオレ高校生ん時、アルバイト雑誌に載っていた手塚プロダクションのアニメ背景スタッフの募集広告見て... (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved March 5, 2022 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ a b c d e @WANPOWANWAN (July 8, 2022). 「高橋かずお」と「高橋和希」は貧乏か金持ちかの差でしかなく中身はほぼ同じだ。... (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved July 8, 2022 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ Shonen Magazine, year 1986, vol. 19. Archived in Taretare 和希の素 語録.[2]
  9. ^ a b 遊☆戯☆王. Comic Natalie (in Japanese). Natasha, Inc. April 21, 2016. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  10. ^ 天然色男児BURAY. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Archived from the original on July 8, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  11. ^ "Time for Kids news, Kazuki Takahashi, Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator". Time for Kids. Time. Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2007.
  12. ^ Spencer, Samuel (July 7, 2022). "Kazuki Takahashi Dead At 60: Celebrating The 'Yu-Gi-Oh' Creator's Legacy". Newsweek. Archived from the original on July 7, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  13. ^ Original content from Time Asia, Vol.157, No.22. "Crouching Lizard. Step aside, Pikachu. The 'King of Games' has stolen your crown in Japan and is poised to conquer America". Lost Dueling Grounds. June 4, 2001. Retrieved June 4, 2001.
  14. ^ a b 「遊☆戯☆王」の高橋和希が60歳で死去. Comic Natalie (in Japanese). Natasha, Inc. July 7, 2022. Archived from the original on July 8, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  15. ^ Loo, Egan (June 14, 2011). "Yu-Gi-Oh! Sets Guinness Record with 25.1 Billion+ Cards". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  16. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (October 17, 2013). "Kazuki Takahashi Draws 'Drump' 1-Shot 9 Years After Yu-Gi-Oh's End". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 28, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  17. ^ Ressler, Karen (July 13, 2015). "Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator Kazuki Takahashi Receives Comic-Con Int'l's Inkpot Award". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (October 5, 2018). "Yu-Gi-Oh! Manga Creator Kazuki Takahashi Launches Short Manga in Shonen Jump". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on January 24, 2019. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  19. ^ Pineda, Rafael (September 3, 2019). "Yu-Gi-Oh's Kazuki Takahashi, Other Jump Artists Draw Marvel Superhero Manga Shorts". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on April 9, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  20. ^ Tolentino, Josh (July 7, 2022). "Yu-Gi-Oh! Manga Creator Kazuki Takahashi Has Died". Siliconera. Archived from the original on July 8, 2022. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  21. ^ サメのかみ傷は死後 「遊☆戯☆王」作者の死因は溺死と発表 12キロ離れたビーチにレンタカー. Okinawa Times (in Japanese). July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  22. ^ Dooley, Ben (July 7, 2022). "Kazuki Takahashi, Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator, Dies at 60". New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  23. ^ Burke, Matthew M. (October 11, 2022). "Army officer recognized for rescuing three people from riptide that killed 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' creator". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  24. ^ Ives, Mike; Ueno, Hisako (October 28, 2022). "A Celebrated Japanese Artist Died Trying to Save Others From Drowning". New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  25. ^ "SHONEN JUMP". SHONEN JUMP. Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  26. ^ "Kazuki Takahashi interview". Shonen Jump. Vol. 1, no. 20. Viz Media. August 2004.
  27. ^ "When Yugi Met Hellboy...". Shonen Jump. Vol. 2, no. 9. Viz Media. September 2004. p. 330.
  28. ^ 「柴戦士タロ」があ出頭え!? [Shiba-Warrior Taro appears!?]. ジャンプSTUDIO発掘隊 [JUMP STUDIO FINDING CORPS]. ジャンプ流! [JUMP-RYU!] (DVD付分冊マンガ講座 [magazine bundled with DVD containing some of the same content in video format]) (in Japanese). Vol. 8. Shueisha. April 21, 2016. p. 7.
  29. ^ @jc_jumpryu (April 22, 2016). vol.8好評発売中!... (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved July 13, 2019 – via Twitter.
  30. ^ "Banzai! On Tour, Buchmesse Leipzig 2005" [Ich tauche gerne. Leider war ich in den letzten Jahren zu beschäftigt, aber in Zukunft möchte ich gerne wieder häufiger tauchen gehen.]. Banzai! (in German). Shueisha. May 2005.
  31. ^ @studio_dice (July 29, 2020). オレは毎年7月に沖縄に行っているけど、今年は行けないのがツライぜ.... Retrieved July 29, 2020 – via Instagram.
  32. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee (July 16, 2019). "Yu-Gi-Oh Creator Kazuki Takahashi Apologizes for Political Statements". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 13, 2022.