Maki Kaji, considered godfather of the famous Sudoku game, dies

Sudoku, a tremendously addictive game

We could say that the fever has passed a bit but a few years ago it was very common to see anyone, of any age, playing Sudoku in a magazine, their mobile or even with a specialized book full of this type of very particular challenge.

Sudoku is a math game which was invented quite some time ago, in the late 70s. Shortly afterwards it became popular in Japan (in the 80s) but it would not be until almost 25 years later (around 2004) when it became known internationally , thanks to the inclusion of its characteristic box in the hobby section of UK newspapers and magazines. A year later it would take off in the rest of the countries, becoming a phenomenon.

Sudoku is a mathematical puzzle consisting of a grid of 9 x 9 (in total you have 81 boxes) that you will have to fill in with figures from 1 to 9 that must never coincide in the same row, column or sub-grid – 9 squares or sub-grids are also grouped within the box. The game is always presented with several support numbers already placed, from which you must build the rows of numbers with the indicated premises. There is no need to comment on how addictive it is, proving why it has become so famous.

The Swiss mathematician Leonhard euler He is considered the father of Sudoku (although at that time it was called “Number place”), however, many recognize Maki Kaji as the godfather of this addictive puzzle.

Maki Kaji, the inventor of the word

Maki Kaji was the president of Nikoli, a Japanese publishing company specialized in logic games and puzzles, when its publication rescued this unique numerical proposal and began to put it out on its pages. Although he already had a Japanese name then, Kaji decided to rename the hobby to make it shorter, calling it Sūdoku (“sū” means number and “doku” alone).


The hobby continued to gain popularity and with it the term that has been coined to this day. A statement from Nikoli Co., mother company of the aforementioned publication, wanted to pay tribute to Kaji now that he has passed away, at the age of 69, and who has been in charge of the company until just a month ago:

Kaji-san came up with the name Sudoku and it was loved by puzzle fans around the world. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts for the support he has shown throughout his life.

And it is that Kaji was in more than 30 countries promoting his hobbies and among them the sudoku, of course.

Did you know the history of Sudoku and its origin? Do you usually get hooked on this type of number puzzles?

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