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Kids Turn Toy News

KENKEN Nextoy™ Launches KENKEN

"The Most Addictive Puzzle Since Sudoku" --Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword Puzzle Editor

NEW YORK --(Business Wire)-- Oct 14, 2008 Sharpen your pencils. Or prepare your pens, if you are really good. A new, fun, educational and addictive brain-teasing puzzle called KENKENTM is taking the world by storm! Heralded as the successor to sudoku, KENKEN originated in Japan where it is published by Gakken Co. Ltd., and quickly became a hit in England. Today KENKEN is being introduced by Nextoy™ who will license and market the brand internationally. Through multiple partners, KENKEN products will be available in an array of formats: books, magazines, newspapers, mobile gaming, online interactive and handheld games. For puzzlers who can't wait to KENKEN, you can test your puzzle acumen at, where you'll find downloadable puzzles of all skill levels for children through adults.

St. Martin's Press is releasing the first four KENKEN books in the United States. Presented and edited by New York Times Crossword Puzzle Editor Will Shortz, each of the Will Shortz Presents KENKEN books will contain 100 puzzles of varying difficulty. There is also a gift edition—perfect for the upcoming holiday season and a great "stocking stuffer" for the puzzle enthusiast in your life.

So far St. Martin's Press has sold 12 million Will Shortz Presents Sudoku books, and KENKEN promises to be just as addictive and enjoyable as sudoku.

"There is no higher authority on puzzles than Will Shortz," says Robert Fuhrer, founder and president of Nextoy and the discoverer of KENKEN during a business trip to Japan. "His 'thumbs up' will engage puzzle enthusiasts of all ages and encourage them to give KENKEN a try."

It was only a little over a year ago that Fuhrer introduced KENKEN to Will Shortz, and within days he was "hopelessly addicted" to the puzzle. Shortz says, "Sometimes a brand new puzzle will come along and take the world by storm. Not only are KENKEN puzzles fun, but they were created to help children improve concentration, logic and arithmetic skills."

So get ready to train your brain. This fall KENKEN will be the buzz among puzzlers and game-players across the country. Indeed, KENKEN has already sold over 1.5 million books internationally and appears twice daily in The Times of London. The launch in the United States begins today with the unveiling of This interactive website will be updated frequently with challenging new puzzles and information on everything KENKEN.

KENKEN Continues in 2009

KENKEN puzzles will be available daily in newspapers and magazines in the United States through United Feature Syndicate starting this month. Already on board are major newspapers, including the Boston Globe and Houston Chronicle. The New York Times web edition will use KENKEN as of October 27, and Reader’s Digest (37 million readers) carries the puzzle as "the new twist on sudoku." A series of Dell Penny Press puzzle books will also be available starting in February 2009.

In addition, gamers will get their shot at mastering KENKEN in 2009. Irwin Toy will introduce a handheld KENKEN game in early 2009. And for little puzzlers, St. Martin’s will produce a special series of KENKEN books for kids.

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KENKEN is a math and logic puzzle somewhat similar to sudoku. It was invented by Japanese mathematics teacher Tetsuya Miyamoto, innovator of the theory "The Art Of Teaching Without Teaching," as an "instruction-free" method of training the brain. Miyamoto first introduced the puzzles into his weekend tutorials to help improve his students’ numeric skills, their powers of concentration and perseverance.

The name comes from "Ken," the Japanese word for wisdom, and KENKEN translates as "wisdom squared." A new type of puzzle, KENKEN is based on simple arithmetic, and each puzzle involves some or all of the following: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. There are clearly defined levels for each type of puzzle from beginner and intermediate to advanced, and puzzles can be on any size grid, from 3 x 3 up to 9 x 9. The puzzles improve logical thinking, concentration and perseverance.

About Nextoy
Nextoy was founded in 1981 by Robert Fuhrer. For over 25 years, Nextoy has been connecting original toy and game ideas with the people who market them. Currently Nextoy serves as product placement specialists in the fields of toys and games, publishing, gifts and novelties. Nextoy clients include: Hasbro, Mattel, SpinMaster, The Sharper Image, Uncle Milton Industries, Crayola, Bandai Japan, Irwin Toys, Basic Fun, St. Martin's Press, HarperCollins, Capcom, Goliath Games, Falls Media, and Winning Moves Games.