Maki Kaji, Sudoku Creator Who Found Delight In Solving Puzzles, Has Died

TOKYO, Japan — Maki Kaji, the developer of the popular numbers puzzle Sudoku, has died, according to his Japanese firm. His life’s work was to promote the fun of puzzles. He had bile duct carcinoma and was 69 years old.

Kaji dubbed the “Godfather of Sudoku,” designed the problem to be simple enough for youngsters and anyone who doesn’t want to think too hard. Players put the numbers 1 through 9 in rows, columns, and blocks without repeating them, earning the game’s moniker, which is made up of the Japanese characters for “number” and “single.”

Sudoku didn’t become a global sensation until 2004 when a fan from New Zealand suggested it and it was published in the British daily The Times. Japan found its own riddle two years later as a “gyakuyunyu,” or “reimport.”

Kaji was the CEO of his puzzle firm, Nikoli Co., until July, when he died on August 10 at his home in Mitaka, a Tokyo suburb.

Maki has been to over 30 countries to share his love of puzzles. According to Tokyo-based Nikoli, Sudoku tournaments have attracted 200 million participants from 100 nations throughout the years.

Sudoku was also never branded outside of Japan, which fueled its international popularity, according to Nikoli.

“Kaji-san coined the term Sudoku, and puzzle lovers all around the world adored him. In a statement, the firm added, “We are thankful from the bottom of our hearts for the patronage you have shown during his life.”

Sudoku was originally known as “Suji-wa-Dokushin-ni-Kagiru,” which means “Numbers should be single, a bachelor.” Sudoku, widely regarded as the world’s most popular pencil puzzle, has just been released in digital form.

Maki, who was born on Hokkaido’s major northern island, founded Japan’s first puzzle magazine after dropping out of Tokyo’s Keio University. In 1983, he established Nikoli, and about the same time, he invented Sudoku.

Kaji’s successor as Nikoli’s CEO, Yoshinao Anpuku, claimed Kaji was easy to get along with and had a “unique and humorous attitude to life.”

Anpuku stated, “Our purpose is to explore Maki’s vision and potential.”

Nikoli has created original puzzles for over 100 media businesses, ten of which are international.

In his eulogy, the major Japanese daily Mainichi praised Kaji for establishing puzzle sections in bookshops and for putting the word “Sudoku” into the Oxford English dictionary.

Kaji is survived by his two kids and wife Naomi. Close family members attended the funeral services. Nikoli is planning a separate memorial ceremony, but the arrangements have yet to be finalized.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

error: Content is protected !!