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Yesterday, Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi uploaded an original illustration to Instagram, urging his fellow Japanese citizens to vote in the upcoming election. But that wasn’t all he posted.

Speech bubbles in the illustration read “Honestly...It’s gotten hard to live in Japan” and “Dictatorship = The future is a dark dimension.” Yugi Mutou holds up two cards reading in English, “Let’s” and “Vote.”


In the original Instagram post, Takahashi also commented, “Truly, because of how this administration is selling out the country, I worry if Japan’s future will be OK. Things are awful!”

Takahashi then wrote, “Atem: [Calling] all duelists! Get ready to vote for righteousness!”

But after fans complained, Takahashi issued an apology.


Japanese public figures tend to refrain from making overtly political statements in public. Even when Japanese celebrities do comment on politics, their statements feel muted or are restricted to basic remarks, such as the importance of voting or even simply the need to publicly discuss politics. On Instagram, some supported Takahashi’s statements, even praising him for speaking his mind.

However, as reported on Livedoor, many fans didn’t like how the Yu-Gi-Oh! characters were used for political means, with people acknowledging Takahashi’s freedom of speech but adding that having Yu-Gi-Oh! characters use words like “dictatorship” and “selling out the country” made them uncomfortable.


Takahashi then issued an apology, “It seems I’ve caused some trouble. After taking various points of view into account, I would like to offer a deep apology to all fans for having the characters make political proclamations.”


The next election will be held in Japan this Sunday.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.

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