The creator of the popular number puzzle game Sudoku Maki Kaji died on Tuesday at 69. Maki Kaji was suffering from bile duct cancer at his home in Mitaka, Tokyo. He is known as the Godfather of Sudoku whose life’s work was spreading the joy of puzzles.
Sudoku is made up of the Japanese characters for number and single and players place the number 1 through 9 in rows, columns, and blocks without repeating them. This game was not famous until 2004 when it finally became a global hit after a fan from New Zealand pitched it. He got it published in the leading British Newspaper. However, two years later Japan rediscovered its puzzle as a gyakuyunyu or re-import.
Kaji created the puzzle to be easy for children and others who don’t want to think too hard. He was the chief executive at his puzzle company Nikoli Co. until July. Initially, Sudoku was known as Suji-wa-Dokushin-ni-Kagiru that translated to numbers should be single, a bachelor. The most popular pencil puzzles have now even come out in digital versions. The company’s championships have drawn around 200 million people in about 100 countries over the years. The sudoku was trademarked within Japan only.