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Bringing Nikoli's puzzles from Japan to the west

Tuesday, September 7, 2004 Dave Green Dave Green and Gil Galanti

Following Puzzle Japan’s promotion and distribution via the Internet, Nikoli puzzles are now also printed in some foreign magazine. Here is our inside story.

A good sign. Nikoli puzzles become more popular by Western puzzle fans. We have tried to promote our puzzles by ourselves before, but we were not successful. Crossword has been a “king” of puzzles. We signed a contract with a Korean publisher; however, Nikoli's mook (a Japanese term for a combination of "magazine" and "book") has never been published. Once in France, a plagiarized Nikoli mook has been sold. In Thailand, (see picture) an exact copy of Nikoli mook was published, but with a different cover page.

It was about 8 year ago when Nonograms by Non Ishida were first issued in the UK. At the time they were a pioneer of Logic puzzles. We knew that since 4 years ago, Logic puzzles were published in one magazine with the Japanese term Tsunami as the title.

It was last year when Dave Green called us. When we met, he told us that he is interested in promoting Nikoli puzzle all over the world. We felt a relief after spending sometime together, when we found that his company, Conceptis Ltd., is the one supplying puzzles to the publishers of Tsunami magazine. His intention was to distribute puzzles made by Conceptis but not to publish them directly. Since then, we thought we could be good partners.

Dave is a 51-year-old handsome man from Israel but also has British citizenship. Since 1980, Dave has been working for High-Tech companies as a star businessman traveling all over the world - from Israel to Tokyo, Santa Barbara, and New York. He just continued the story naturally that he was traveling like this for 8 consecutive months as if he has done nothing.

Is this a typical Jewish businessman like?

Meeting at Nioli's office A copy of Nikoli mook

What brought Dave into puzzles? In 1994, when he was on the way to New York with one of his company's customers - a top Japanese Manager - for his business trip, Dave saw that this Japanese customer was solving the puzzles in the airplane. Dave found interest in these puzzles, and when he got back from the business trip, started creating puzzle software himself. At the same time, he founded a puzzle company and named it Conceptis.

Is this a typical Jewish businessman like? In 2001, when the High-Tech company Dave was working at went bankrupt, he started spending more time on puzzles. He had no salary for 2 years. Since then, the company has continuously grown with more business contracts with many publishing companies such as Game Magazine Co. in U.S.A., Sanoma in Netherlands and Puzzler Media in the U.K. Today, Conceptis is distributing its own logic puzzles in the US, UK, Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands, Israel, Russia and many other countries.

Since last year, some Nikoli puzzles have been placed in Game Magazine in the USA. This has also been done by Dave. Knowing that the Japanese puzzle market is number one in the world, he wishes Nikoli to introduce Conceptis puzzles to the Japanese publishers. His first stop in Japan was Nikoli and now he wants to sell Nikoli’s puzzle all over the world, so he is the real international person we have been looking for.

Dave enjoys Japanese food - raw fish and baked chicken in a Tatami room. Last time, his colleague Gil came with him as a photographer and journalist. Gil is in charge of distributing the Conceptis PUZZLETIMES newsletter all over the world. Gil is a cheerful person while Dave is calm. Gil loves the movie “La Motion” with Toshiro Mifune and also knew about “Giri and Ninjyo”. I have heard that the two of them are not religious, which I thought is interesting. When I sang “Jumping Jack Flash in the Karaoke bar,” Gil danced with me. Dave was singing, “Love me tender” very cool.

Since most of the overseas magazines are soft-covered, the foreign publishers find Nikoli’s mook very fancy. The Netherlands and UK publishers say that it will not be necessary to test Nikoli puzzles before publishing. Now they are interested in having more Nikoli puzzles placed in their magazine and renew the layout or style. They hope to issue a puzzle book, and not just sell the puzzle magazine at newsstands.

The human relationships between Conceptis and their partners are passionate and sincere. We feel like we have found a strong partner. If you find Nikoli puzzles anywhere you go, you might find some new friends too. This bridge is made by Dave.

Editorial comment

"Bringing Nikoli's Puzzles from Japan to the West" has been freely translated from editorial section of Nikoli puzzles quarterly puzzle book. Scans of its Japanese source available online: part 1 / part 2

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