Maki Kaji - Updated Jul 2024

Updated On June 3, 2024
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Sapporo, Japan
Birth Sign

Sapporo, Japan

Maki Kaji

Maki Kaji was a popular Japanese businessman. Maki Kaji was best recognized for being the president of Nikoli, a puzzle manufacturer. Moreover, he was popularly known as the “father of Sudoku”.

Early Life and Education

Maki Kaji was born on October 8, 1951, in Sapporo, Japan. He was 69 years old at the time of his death. His mother was employed at a kimono shop, and his father was an engineer at a telecom business. He held Japanese nationality and was born under the sun sign Libra. Other than this there is no information about his early life and childhood.

As for his educational background, he was a drop-out student. He had attended Shakujii High School in his hometown. Later, he enrolled at Keio University but he dropped out during the first year.


At the age of 69, Kaji passed away from bile duct cancer on August 10, 2021, at his home in Tokyo. A funeral for Nikoli was organized by his staff on November 2 in Tokyo.

Career and Professional Life

Maki was a popular Japanese businessman and president of Nikoli. In 1980, Kaji and two of his childhood mates founded the quarterly puzzle publication Nikoli. A racehorse that had finished in the 1980 Irish 2000 Guineas Stakes race inspired the name of the publication. A corporation of the same name was established by him three years later. The company’s principal offering, a magazine, saw a quarterly increase in readership to 50,000.

In the first editions of Nikoli, the Sudoku puzzle appeared. After coming across the riddle in 1984 under the title “Number Place,” he became interested in it. During his quick journey to horse racing, he came up with the name “Sudoku.” According to the advice of his coworkers, he simplified Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru (“numbers should be single”). The game gained enormous popularity once it reached Britain and the United States.

Maki Kaji

Caption: Maki Kaji was published on the BBC News
Source: Instagram

Moreover, Kaji has created or popularized a number of additional puzzle games, including Masyu. Ten days before his passing, on July 31, 2021, he announced his resignation as Nikoli’s leader. Yoshinao Anpuku, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, took over as president after him.

Relationship Status

Kaji was a straight-gender person. As for his marital status, he was a married man. He had tied the knot with Naomi. They were together until his death. Likewise, the couple had two children together. However, the details about her wife and kids are not available to the media.

Maki Kaji

Caption: Maki Kaji posing for a photo
Source: The Mirror

Maki Kaji – Net Worth 2024

Maki Kaji was one of the richest businessmen in Japan. He had earned a hefty amount of money throughout his successful career. He had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death. However, he hadn’t disclosed his salary and other asset values.

Social Media

Reflecting on his social media presence, Maki Kaji was not active on any social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. Despite being a media face, he liked to keep his private life away from the limelight.

Maki Kaji – Body Measurements

Coming to his physical stats, he had a very charming personality. However, there are no details about his body stats like height, weight, dress size, shoe size, and so on. He had a pair of brown eyes with grey colored hair.

Maki Kaji

Caption: Maki Kaji was captured during one of his shows
Source: The News Minute