Japanese Modern Overview
Japanese Modern: Overview Gameplay Scoring Penalties & Errors Resources
Japanese Modern Mahjong
Japanese Mahjong
Japanese Mahjong
Length 2 Rounds
Tiles Used
Wall 136 tiles
Hand 13 tiles
Dead Wall 14 tiles
System Point, Pattern
Unit Fu, Han/Yaku
Minimum 1 Yaku
Maximum Yakuman
Payout Winner(s) only

Japanese Modern mahjong also known as riichi or reach mahjong is probably the most popular variation of mahjong played in Japan. Japanese modern mahjong incorporates the classical point system, where pungs/kongs are valued, and takes up a pattern-based system using yaku. Although the scoring table is fairly universal, many players abide by their own variations and set of acceptable yaku.



Bams Cracks Dots Winds Dragons Flowers Seasons Jokers Red tiles
Tiles used 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-Yes_check.svg.png 15px-X_mark.svg.png 15px-X_mark.svg.png 15px-X_mark.svg.png Optional

A red five tile for each suit can be used to replace a normal five tile. In other words, you will have three normal number 5 tiles in each suit and one red 5 tile. In some variations the dot suit has two red tiles.

  • 136 tiles
  • Scoring sticks
  • Dice x 2
  • Dealer marker (optional)
  • Yakitori markers (optional)


chi「吃」 (chow)
A sequence of three.
pon 「碰」(pung)
Three of a kind.
kan 「槓」(kong)
Four of a kind.
A tile which is worth one additional han.
han 「翻」: Unit of scoring (multiplier)
: fu 「符」: Unit of scoring (minipoints)
: tsumo 「自摸」: Win on a self-drawn tile.
: furiten 「振聽」: Miss win.
: tenpai「聽牌」
Waiting on a tile to win.
A severe penalty.


Main Article: Seating

Before the tiles are shuffled and the wall is built, each player sits down arbitrarily at the table. Set aside one of each wind tile, an even, and an odd numbered tile. Shuffle the wind tiles face down and arranged them sandwiched in between the odd and even tile as seen below.


b1.gif z1.gif z1.gif z1.gif z1.gif b2.gif
Random wind tiles face down

Any arbitrary player rolls two dice and counts off, starting with him/herself as one, the next player as two, etc. continuing counterclockwise. The indicated player, then rolls the dice once more noting both the total and if the total is an even or odd number. This will determine who draws first and from which side. Again, he/she counts off starting with him/herself.

b1.gif w2.gif w4.gif w1.gif w3.gif b2.gif
Wind tiles face up for illustration purposes.

If the number is odd, for example, the indicated player draws the face down wind tile closest to the odd-numbered tile (in this case South). The next player in turn draws the next wind tile (North), and so on (East and last West). The wind tile drawn is your seat wind. The player who is east remains stationary while the other players arranges themselves accordingly. Shuffle up all of tiles and build the wall.

Playing order: East, South, West, North

See Main Article: Seat and Prevalent Winds

Seat winds are winds assigned to each player prior to the start of the game. The player who is in the East position is the dealer. Following counterclockwise, is South, West and North.

The player sitting at the star is East in the first hand

If the deal passes when the hand is over the player’s wind change. The player who was originally East position is now North, the player starting as South is now East, etc. In other words, the winds rotate counterclockwise.

The player sitting at the star is now South

When the player who was originally East becomes East again (deals again) a new round begins.

Each round is assigned a wind, known as the prevalent wind or round wind. After each round the prevalent wind changes. For the first round the prevalent wind is East, for the second South, third West, and fourth North. A marker or indicator is commonly used to keep track of the round.

Note: In Japanese modern mahjong two rounds (han-chan「半莊」) are commonly played.


Tiles are then dealt accordingly to each player. The wall will be 17 tiles in length. The last 14 tiles are set aside as the dead wall.

Dora Indicator

See Dora main article.

The third tile from the end of the dead wall is turn face up. This tile indicates which tile is dora.

ve Japanese Modern Mahjong Series .
Japanese Modern Overview · Gameplay · Scoring · Penalties & Errors · Resources
Riichi Competition Rules Overview · Gameplay · Scoring · Penalties & Errors · Resources
Washizu Mahjong Overview · Gameplay · Scoring · Penalties & Errors · Resources
Variations Three Player · Two Player
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