Maki Kaji Biography – Maki Kaji Wiki
Maki Kaji was the founder and chief executive officer of Nikoli Co., Ltd., a Japanese puzzle manufacturer. A Keio University dropout who worked in a printing company before founding Japan’s first puzzle magazine in 1983, Kaji took hints from an existing number puzzle to create what he later named “sudoku” – a contraction of the Japanese for “every number must be single” – sometime in the mid-80s.
The puzzle challenges people to fill a grid of 9×9 blocks, with nine boxes in each block so that all columns, both vertical and horizontal, contain the numbers one to nine without repetition. The number of filled-in figures for a grid at the start of the puzzle determines how difficult it is.
Sudoku became popular outside Japan around two decades ago after overseas newspapers began printing the puzzles. It is now praised as a way to keep mental faculties sharp, with more than 100 million people around the world estimated to try the puzzles regularly.
Maki traveled to more than 30 countries spreading his enjoyment of puzzles. A world championship has been held annually since 2006. Sudoku championships have drawn some 200 million people in 100 countries over the years, according to Tokyo-based Nikoli.
Kaji continued to create and refine puzzles with the help of readers of his quarterly puzzle magazine. He stepped down as CEO of Nikoli on July 31, 2021 due to ill health and died from bile duct cancer on 10 August.
Nikoli is the first puzzle magazine in Japan and publishes a wide range of puzzle magazines and books. The first puzzle magazine in Japan was published in August, 1980, this magazine was “Nikoli.” Since that first magazine, the company has been publishing puzzle magazines and books and supplying original puzzles to other publications (newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines). The company has created over 200 kinds of original puzzles.
Major Japanese newspaper Mainichi in its obituary credited Kaji for starting the puzzle sections at bookstores, as well as introducing the word “Sudoku” into the Oxford English dictionary.
Maki Kaji Age
Maki Kaji was born on 8 October 1951 in Sapporo, Hokkaido. He died on 10 August 2021. He was 69.
Maki Kaji Family
Maki Kaji is survived by his wife Naomi and two daughters.
Maki Kaji Death
Maki Kaji Cause of Death
Maki Kaji’s cause of death was bile duct cancer.
Maki Kaji Net Worth
Maki Kaji’s net worth is estimated to be $10 million.