Sudoku Origin Story
Sudoku puzzles are a wonderful way to relax and pass the time all while improving your mental health. But, where did this wonderful game come from and how did it become so popular? I can tell you something for certain, this story has a twist you didn’t see coming.
What does the word, Sudoku mean?
First and foremost what does the word Sudoku actually mean. I bet you are thinking there is no way it’s an English word, and you would be correct. In fact Sudoku is an abbreviation of the Japanese phrase, “suuki wa dokushin ni kagiru”. Which translates into “the number must remain single”. The meaning of the phrase states there must be one of each number in each box and cannot repeat in any row or column.
Discovering the Roots of Sudoku.
So the name Sudoku originates from Japan but, this is where the twist comes in, the game itself doesn’t originate from Japan. It is however, where the game became popular.
Sudoku was actually invented in Switzerland by a mathematician named Leonhard Euler. You may or may not know this but, Euler is pretty famous in the math world, but obviously not for his invention of Sudoku.
Sudoku was actually just a side hobby for Euler and at the time he called the game ‘Graeco-Roman Squares’ or Latin Squares. This version of the game was played with letters rather than numbers. Now, even though Euler had a ton of success with his mathematical research his game did not pick up any traction.
Later between 1890 and 1920 a similar variation of the puzzle popped up in a French newspaper where they called the game Magic Squares. This time the number 1-9 were used. But, the game still didn’t pick up any popularity and went dormant once again.
Believe it or not the game popped up again, in 1979. This time in America. It was introduce by a gentleman name Howard Garnes and published in the Dell Puzzle Magazines. At this time the puzzle was named Number Place.
The puzzle then made it’s way to Japan where Number Place had been translated to “suuki wa dokushin ni kagiru” and later abbreviated to Sudoku. This is where the games popularity exploded and became a pass-time activity.