Goro Hasegawa, the man credited with helping create the Othello board game, died June 20 at his home in a Tokyo suburb. He was 83.
Marie Kimura of the Japan Othello Association announced the death but did not cite the cause.
Mr. Hasegawa served as head of the Japan Othello Association, which promoted the game and hosted tournaments that drew players from around the world. The 40th annual tournament is scheduled for November.
Othello, which is similar to Reversi, is played by two people, one placing pieces with the black side up, the other with the white side up.
Each player places one piece at a time. If any pieces of one color get hemmed in by the other color, then all the pieces in between are turned over to become the color of the pieces at the ends. The goal is to get as many pieces of your color as possible.
Mr. Hasegawa reportedly came up with the idea for the game as a child, and played it with milk-bottle caps when Japan was struggling economically and devastated by World War II. He proposed it to a manufacturer in the early 1970s.
His father, an English literature expert, was behind the name of the game, which was taken from Shakespeare’s play. Mr. Hasegawa is survived by his wife Hideko, three children, and grandchildren.
Since 1973, 24.75 million Othello sets have been shipped in Japan, not counting online and overseas sales, according to Tokyo-based MegaHouse, which makes the game.
One appeal of Othello is its simplicity. Many people, including children, find it easier to play than chess or Go.
“The beautiful contrast of the white and the black on a green board, the click-clicking sound of people placing the pieces, and the situation changing so suddenly like the magical world of Aladdin’s lamp,” was the way Mr. Hasegawa described the fun of playing Othello on his blog featured by the association.
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