Maki Kaji, ‘Godfather of Sudoku’, Dies at 69

With 2 youth buddies, Maki Kaj had started the company that would later become Nikoli, which is among the most prolific international publishers of puzzle publications and books. Nikoli helped catapult Sudoku into the mainstream in the mid-2000s. It was Japan’s first puzzle magazine.

The company itself does not create many new puzzles, for instance, an American is thought to have actually invented an earlier version of Sudoku. The real origins are dirty. Some trace the game back to Leonhard Euler, an 18th-century Swiss mathematician.

Others say the idea originated from China, through India, to the Arab world in the 8th or ninth century. However the puzzle was developed, Kaji’s business made Sudoku and other comparable puzzles popular globally. Nikoli’s trick was that it largely checked and refined existing puzzles.

Kaji wish to make Nikoli into the world’s source for puzzle games.

Nikoli has a lot more puzzles where Sudoku originated from. In the late 1990s, when Kaji pitched the Sudoku puzzle to publishers in New York and London, he was not successful. Within years, the puzzle was being released across hundreds of newspapers internationally, generating millions of dollars.

An approximated 200 million individuals in 100 countries have solved the logic puzzle, which involves filling out a numbered grid. A world championship is held each year. In 2017, an older man living in momentary real estate in Otsuchi, a town in northern Japan, after the disastrous 2011 earthquake, wrote to Kaji to notify him that his puzzles were too difficult.

That influenced Kaji to produce more available puzzles for children and older people. Kaji was born on Oct. 8, 1951, in Sapporo, Japan, to a dad who was an engineer at a telecom company and a mom who operated at a robe shop. He finished from Shakujii High School in Tokyo, however left Keio University.

Kaji is survived by his spouse, Naomi, and 2 children.

Puzzle experts described Kaji as having actually imbued their world with “soul”. His essential contribution to the world of reasoning puzzles is underappreciated and subtle. In an age where most Sudoku and comparable puzzles are computer system generated, Nikoli continued to make puzzles generated by people.

Kaji stated that the secret to developing a great puzzle was to make the guidelines easy and simple for everybody, consisting of beginners. Kaji, a university dropout who turned a numbers game into the world’s most popular logic puzzles and ended up being called the “Godfather of Sudoku”, died at his home in Tokyo on Aug. 10. He was 69.

Kaji’s death was revealed on Tuesday by the puzzle company he co-founded, Nikoli. The cause was bile duct cancer. In 2008, Kaji stated he initially “fell in love” with a game called Number Place in 1984, he relabelled it Sudoku.

Kaji wanted to produce a Japanese name.

Kaji produced the name in about 25 seconds. the reason being he had been in a rush to get to a horse race. He had actually not expected the name to stick. “Sudoku” roughly translates to “single numbers”. Because of ill health, he stepped down as head of his business in July.

Despite the millions drew in by the Sudoku puzzle, Kaji said that he had received only a little fraction of the cash, in part due to the fact that he had been late to trademarking the puzzle. He had no regrets, he added. He was respected due to the fact that he do it for the love of games, not for the money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *