The game derives from two different sources.
In the 19th century unknown authors in Europe invented "Reversi", which the well-known German games publisher Ravensburger started producing in 1898 as one of its first titles.
The modern rule set, now universally accepted (except by those who know only the still-produced Ravensburger edition) originated in Japan as "Othello" in the 1970s.
Goro Hasegawa, who wrote How to win at Othello, popularised the game in Japan in 1975. It took its name from the Shakespearean play Othello, the Moor of Venice.