Maki Kaji, the Japanese puzzle enthusiast better known as the ‘godfather of Sudoku’, has died of bile cancer at the age of 69.


Nikoli, his magazine which specialises in games, broke the news in a statement via its website on Monday.

According to the statement, Jaki breathed his last on August 10 at his home in Tokyo amid his battle with the ailment.

“Maki Kaji, who spread the love of puzzles in the world as ‘godfather of Sudoku’ passed away at 10:54 pm on August 10, 2021 at home in Tokyo,” it read.


“The cause of death was bile duct cancer. He was 69 years old. Nikoli will hold a memorial gathering and will announce at Nikoli’s url.”

Kaji was born in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo in 1951.

The deceased launched Nikoli after he dropped out of Keio University, and published its first edition in August 1980.


Sudoku, a sort of numerical crossword, was invented by Leonhard Euler, Swiss mathematician, in the 18th century but Kaji is credited with popularising the numbers game.

He was said to have introduced the name Sudoku, a contraction of a Japanese phrase that means “each number must be single.”

Sudoku requires a player to put the numbers one to nine in a box made up of 81 squares so that no number is repeated in any of the nine vertical or horizontal lines.


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