Maki Kaji Dies at Age 69
Kaji was widely known for founding and popularizing the numbers puzzle sudoku at age 69, known by many as its creator and godfather. Nikoli puzzle manufacturer employed him and sold 50,000 copies four times annually of Nikoli magazine he created or introduced puzzle games into.
On October 8, 1951 in Sapporo on Hokkaido island of Japan. His parents worked at separate telecom businesses; his mother owned and ran a kimono shop. While attending high school tennis competition, he left after two and half years to work as waiter, roadie and construction worker before enrolling at Keio University but then leaving after his first year due to financial reasons.
While at university, he developed his math skills further. He could solve complex number patterns and formulas while creating his own puzzle games and logic tests which his classmates would utilize.
After graduating from Keio University, he ventured into publishing business with two childhood friends of his. They founded a puzzle magazine named Nikoli that they released three years later; its name was inspired by an Irish 2000 Guineas Stakes racehorse that placed second. Within three years a corporation bearing this same name had been created; quarterly readership rose up to 50,000.
Nikoli expanded beyond magazines by creating digital content and mobile applications. Kaji took great pride in making sure his puzzles remained handcrafted rather than computer generated; he believed solving handcrafted puzzles would bring greater satisfaction than solving an automated solution.
At present, their primary source of income is Ryan’s World. This YouTube series features 10-year-old Ryan unboxing and reviewing toys; estimated monthly ad revenues alone are around $2 Million while they also earn $5 per 1,000 views on their video channel.
The family boasts an active social media presence, boasting more than 152,000 Instagram followers and over 200,000 Facebook fans. As time progresses, they plan on expanding into other forms of entertainment – including live-action and animated series on Amazon Kids+.