Maki Kaji, the Japanese university dropout who made Sudoku a worldwide phenomenon, has died from cancer at the age of 69.
He gave the logic game its name and helped popularise it after publishing it in his puzzle magazine Nikoli in the 1980s.
Since then, the popular brain teaser – which involves placing the numbers 1 to 9 in each row, column and square of a 9 by 9 grid – has spread around the globe.
US architect Howard Garns is often credited as the creator of the modern version of the old puzzle in the 1970s, under the name Number Place – and it was this game that Kaji spotted in 1984.
“It was a very interesting puzzle, fun to solve,” he said in a speech. “But the name Number Place did not hit me. I wanted to create a Japanese name.”
Kaji did not trademark the game, and did not gain financially from its huge success. But he said the joy of the puzzle and of others enjoying the game were more important than any monetary reward.
Tap the link in our bio to learn more about the origins of the beloved game.
(📸: Getty Images)