The previous version of this website was launched by me, David Hurley, at the beginning of the 21st century. I had moved back to Hiroshima after a couple of years in England and was keen to start playing Japanese 3-player mahjong again.

In those days there were no rules in English for the 3-player version of Japanese – aka riichi – mahjong.

So the old site, now sadly defunct, was the only website where the Japanese three-player variation of mahjong was discussed in English.

But whatever the merits of the three player game, it only has a regional following concentrated predominantly in the Hiroshima area whereas traditional Japanese “four-player” mahjong (aka “Riichi Maajan” or “Reach Mahjong”) is played throughout the whole Japanese archipelago.

So the aim of this blog is to cover the rules of the standard riichi game as well as the 3-player variation that I played for many years.

Japanese Mahjong

Japanese mahjong is distinguished by certain features such as the riichi rule, and the methodical placement of discard tiles in a row one after the other in front of each player.

The Japanese game, like mahjong elsewhere, admits of a great deal of variety of optional rules. The key to enjoying mahjong is flexibility; flexibility as to the rules you play by, and flexibility in your style of play during a game…

I hope to post more information about traditional Japanese mahjong in due course, along with an extensive overview of the numerous local variations to the rules and a section on Japanese mahjong terms.

David Hurley

30th March 2017

Last updated 30th March 2018