Maki Kaji, godfather of sudoku, died

Maki Kaji, godfather of sudoku, died

Maki Kaji

Maki Kaji, known as the "Godfather of Sudoku", died at the age of 69 of bile duct cancer. Kaji did not invent sudoku; variations of the game appeared in French newspapers as early as the 19th century and the modern sudoku based on the correct placement of numbers in boxes was created by Howard Garns in 1979. However, Kaji is the man who popularized the game in Japan.

Maki Kaji and his love of sudoku

Born in Hokkaido, Maki Kaji was married and had two children. He died on August 10 and a small funeral was held exclusively for his family. His former company is planning a larger memorial service, but details have not yet been disclosed.

Kaji also contributed to the name of the game: “sudoku” is in fact short for “Suji wa Dokushin ni Kagiru “, Or“ the number must be unique “. Maki founded Nikoli, Japan's first puzzle magazine, and in 1983 also founded the puzzle company Nikoli Co.

“Kaji-san came up with the name Sudoku and was loved by puzzle fans all over the world. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts for the patronage you have shown throughout your life, ”Nikoli Co. said in a statement. Kaji's passion for puzzles has taken him around the world. In total, he has visited more than 30 countries during his lifetime. Kaji remained the CEO of Nikoli Co. until last month, and was replaced by Yoshinao Anpuku, who said he wanted to "pursue Maki's vision".

In 1997, New Zealander Wayne Gould discovered a Sudoku book during a trip to Japan. Fascinated by the game, Gould spent six years working on a program capable of creating these puzzles, which began being published in the UK in 2004. From there, sudoku took off around the world and saw a resurgence of interest also from the Japanese public.

If you are also Sudoku fans, have fun with the many proposals and variations on the theme that you can find in this very rich page on Amazon!

Maki Kaji, Founder Who Popularized Sudoku, Dies at 69

a man holding a sign: Maki Kaji during the Sudoku first national competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 29, 2012. © Getty Images. Maki Kaji during the Sudoku first national competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 29, 2012.

Kaji didn't invent Sudoku, but he gave it new branding and led the company that turned it into a global phenomenon.

Maki Kaji, the 'godfather' of the popular logic puzzle Sudoku, died of bile duct cancer on August 10 at his home in Tokyo, The New York Times reported. He was 69.

While the origins of Sudoku are hazy, Kaji is credited with turning the game into a beloved routine for millions, including many entrepreneurs who use it to help keep their minds sharp. Born in Sapporo, Japan, Kaji dropped out of Keio University and went on to start a company with two childhood friends, according to the Times. That company became Nikoli, which bills itself as the publisher of Japan's first puzzle magazine.

Around the same time, Kaji discovered a game that involves placing the numbers 1 through 9 in rows, columns, and squares without repeating them. He renamed it Sudoku, using the Japanese characters for 'number' and 'single.' Kaji perfected Sudoku and pitched it to international publishers, who at first weren't interested, according to the Times. But by the mid-2000s, the game had taken off, and was being published in hundreds of newspapers worldwide. Some 200 million people in 100 countries have participated in Sudoku championships, Nikoli told the Associated Press.

Kaji had stepped down as Nikoli's CEO in July because of his health, the Times reported. He had previously told the newspaper that he was late to trademark Sudoku and therefore received only a small fraction of the millions of dollars it generated, but that he had no regrets. 'We're prolific because we do it for the love of games, not for the money,' Mr. Kaji told the Times.