Last week, I provided highlights of Cantonese with Hong Kong Old Style scoring. For the third post in this 5-part series, I’ll share my opinion of Japanese Modern, also known as Riichi as played by the European rule-set.
Japanese Mahjong was designed in 1912. In this style, players are required to gather four sets (three in a sequence [chi] and/or three of a kind [pon] or four of a kind [kan]) and a pair to win just like the other Asian variants. One of the things that make this game unique is the use of red 5’s and Dora tiles that can add point multipliers (han) to the winning hand. Another differentiator is being able to declare ready to win (riichi) which raises the value of the hand and allows an additional wager. House rules may vary slightly and there is typically a 1-2 yaku (valued set or combination) minimum required to win.
This style has surprise and strategic elements that make it exciting and more complex than Cantonese style and it’s quickly gaining worldwide and long-term popularity. If you learn this style first, you can quickly learn most Asian variants with a minimal learning curve.
Learning Curve: 4
Come back next week for highlights of American Style. This style is probably the most common way to play in the United States.