Japan’s Kaji, the “Father of Sudoku” dies at 69

Aneela SiddiquiWeb Editor

17th Aug, 2021. 11:21 am
Father of Sudoku

TOKYO:  Japanese publisher has revealed that the man named the “father of Sudoku” for his role in popularising the numerical brainteaser enjoyed by millions has died of cancer at the age of 69.

Maki Kaji died at home on August 10 following a battle with cancer, according to a note posted on Monday by Nikoli. A memorial ceremony will be conducted at a later date.

Mr. Kaji was known as the “Father of Sudoku” and was loved by puzzle fans all around the world, according to a statement posted on the publisher’s website.

Sudoku, a type of numerical puzzle, was created in the 18th century by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler.

Although the contemporary version is said to have been formulated in the United States, Kaji is credited with popularising the problem in the puzzle.

He is also credited for coining the term Sudoku, which is a contraction of a Japanese word that means “each number must be single.”

Sudoku challenges the player to arrange the numbers 1 through 9 in an 81-square box in such a way that no number appears twice in any of the nine vertical or horizontal lines.

In the 1980s, Nikoli saw a version in an American magazine and took it to Japan, where Sudoku was born.

After several decades, it broke into Europe and the United States, with the BBC in the United Kingdom reporting in 2005 on a puzzle that “began its gentle attack on the nation last year, and can now be found in four national newspapers”.

In 2007, Kaji told the BBC that designing a new puzzle was like “discovering treasure.”

“It isn’t a question of whether it will gain money. It’s just the thrill of attempting to solve it.”


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