Maki's Speech from the Sudoku championship

Thank you.

I'm Maki Kaji. It is a great honor to be here this evening.

First, I want to give my special thanks to my great friend, Will Shortz, and Philadelphia Inquirer for inviting me to Sudoku National Championship.

Now let me give you a brief history of how Sudoku was named.

In 1984 I first met Number Place. It was a very interesting puzzle, fun to solve.

At that time, I had already founded NIKOLI, and started publishing the first puzzle magazine in Japan. I fell in love with Number Place and decided to have it included in our menu.

But the name, Number Place, did not hit me. I wanted to create a Japanese name.

Hmmm. . . . Numbers . . . One in each box . . . . Single digits . . .

OK, I made it! "Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru", which means "Numbers should be SINGLE, UNMARRIED." That is the formal name, but it was a bit too long, so we started calling it by acronym, Sudoku.

"SU" stands for numbers, and "DOKU" stands for single or unmarried.

I WAS already married at that time. And please understand that I did NOT come up with "Numbers should be single" because I wanted to be single again.

Of course, I did not expect Sudoku to be such a globally accepted name. To tell the truth, I did not have time, because my staff was pushing me to make up a name, and I wanted to go to horse racing that day, so I created the name in about 25 seconds.

Since then, our team has produced thousands of Sudoku puzzles, from easy ones to difficult ones, while adding a high-quality NIKOLI taste.

In 2005, Sudoku became a bit hit in England, and then throughout the world. Some of my friends said, "Maki, why don't you TRADEMARK Sudoku in every country? You could be a millionaire."

I said, "No, that's not what I want. I would be happier to see everyone in the world enjoy Sudoku more easily."

This is true. I did not become a millionaire, but I'm glad Sudoku is now loved by billions of people. I enjoy my staff saying they are proud of their job, I enjoy a glass of wine with my wife every night, and I enjoy horse racing every weekend. I am very much satisfied with the way I am.

Horse racing has been a big part of my life. Actually, I named my company, NIKOLI after a British horse.

Now I am anxious to find out who will be the Sudoku champions tomorrow, as well as who will be the Breeder's Cup winner tomorrow.

Thank you very much, and good luck to you all.