December 8, 2023


The Godfather of Sudoku, Maki Kaji, passed away at the age of 69, due to bile duct cancer.


  • He was the creator of popular numbers puzzle Sudoku.
  • His work was spreading the joy of puzzles.
  • He created the puzzle to be easy for children and others.

Who was Maki Kaji?

Maki Kaji was the president of Nikoli Co. Ltd. It is a Japanese puzzle manufacturer. He was popularly called as “the father of Sudoku” as he played a key role in popularizing this number game. He also invented other puzzle games including Masyu. He recently (July 2021) resigned as head of Nikoli, before his death.


He was born in in Sapporo, Hokkaido on October 8, 1951. His father was an engineer at a telecom company while his mother was an employer of a kimono shop. He did his schooling from Shakujii High School in Sapporo. Later he studied literature at Keio University, but dropped out in his first year. After several jobs such as being a roadie, a waiter and a construction worker, he lastly started a publishing business.

About Nikoli

Nikoli was a quarterly puzzle magazine by Kaji. Magazine was named after a race horse that had won Guineas Stakes race in Ireland. Later he founded the company with same name. Nikoli magazine was the company’s main product.

About Sudoku

Sudoku is a logic-based, combinatorial, number-placement puzzle. Puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid for which a well-posed puzzle has a single solution

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