Japanese Classical Rules
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A complete game last 4 rounds (or 16 hands). The game's length may be prolonged if the dealer wins, in which the dealer retains the East position and deals again. When the game ends in a draw the deal passes.

Normal Turn

During the game a player may call to complete any one of the following sets:

  • Chi (Chow): Claimed from the player to your left or for mahjong.
  • Pon (Pung) : Claimed from any player.
  • Kan (Kong): Claimed from any player. A replacement tile is drawn afterward.
  • Concealed and Small Melded Kan: Announced only after drawing a tile (i.e. not after claiming a tile). A replacement tile is drawn afterward.

Pace of the Game

In order to keep the game flowing a fast pace a player may:

  1. Announce a claim for tile.
  2. Discard a tile from his/her hand.
  3. The next player proceeds.
  4. The claimed tile picked up and melded.

This is common in Japanese mahjong, whereas other rules would follow an order of 1, 4, 2, and then 3.

Arrangement of Tiles

Discards are arranged on the floor in front of their respective discarded in rows of six, placed from left to right.

Tiles claimed are rotated 90 degrees within the set to show which player had discarded it.

Example 1
Chow. 3-character is claimed from the person to our left.

Example 2
Pung. 5-dot is claimed from the person across from us.

Concealed Kongs
Concealed kongs have the two most inner tiles face up.


Riichi is a rule in that should be agreed upon playing. Any player to declare riichi at on any turn when his/her hand is one tile away. The following rules applies to a player that has declared riichi:

  • The hand must be placed face down.
  • 100 point counting stick is placed on top of the hand. The winning player collects the 100 points at the end of the hand.
  • The most recent discard is rotated within the discard pile to signify which turn riichi was declared. If this discard is claimed, the next previous tile in the discard pile is rotated.
  • The hand must be completely concealed before calling. Concealed kongs are okay.
  • No changes can be made to the hand, not even concealed kongs.
  • When a tile is drawn, if it is not a winning tile it is immediately discarded.
  • When a tile is drawn, if it is any winning tile that completes the hand it mahjong must be declared. In other words, if you have multiple tiles to go out on the first applicable tile is used.

Sacred Discard

A player who is one tile away from winning cannot go out on an opponent’s discard, if the player in waiting had previously discarded the same tile. The tiles discarded can be verified by the rows of discards in front of each player, as well as the rotated tiles claimed by opponents. The waiting player may go out on a tile that was previously discarded if the tile is self-drawn.

1-4-7 Restriction (Optional)
A variation with sacred discards adds a tighter restriction on the ability to claim the winning tile. In addition to not being able to declare ron on a tile in your discard pile, you cannot declare any numbers that belong in the same knitted sequence (i.e. 1-4-7, 2-5-8, or 3-6-9) as well. For example, if a 3-bamboo was discarded and later on in the game the player draws a 4- and 5-bamboo and is waiting. The waiting player cannot declare ron on either the 3- or 6-bamboo, it would have to be self-drawn.

Sacred Discard (Optional)
Anther optional variation is allowing the waiting player to declare “furiten” or “sacred discard” at the same time when he/she declares riichi. This allows the player to go out on any tile that will complete his hand. This it acts as a warning to the other players that the tile needed to go out is a tile that is in already in the waiting player’s pool of discards (or in the case with the 1-4-7 restriction a tile in that sequence).

Post Hand

The dealer wins the current hand he/she deals again, retaining the East position, otherwise the deal passes.

Dealer’s Extra Hand

If the dealer wins a hand an additional one is played with the dealer in the East position (renchan). A 10 point stick is used as a counter for each hand the dealer remains in East. The winner of the hand collects 100 points from each player (300 total). If the dealer is the winner he collects the bonus (without doubling it) and places another 10 point stick aside to signify a second deal. The bonus increases another 100 points and continues until the dealer loses and the East wind is passed or until the dealer wins eight hands earning the limit.

Draws and Abortive Games

The deal passes after a draw. A draw or a game where no winner is declared occurs for the following reasons:

  • No player wins by the time the wall is exhausted.
  • A player has more than nine unique tiles terminal and honor tiles in his/her starting hand. This must be declared within the first uninterrupted go-around..
  • The same the same tile is discarded by all four players in succession.
  • When more than one player makes 4 kongs.

Noten Penalty

If a draw occurs any player who is tenpai can show their hand. Players who are noten (not one tile away from winning) have to pay a total of 600 points to players who are tenpai. For example, Player A is in tenpai whereas B, C, and D are not, Player A receives 200 from each player ($200 \times 3 = 600$).

Post Round

A round is over when all players get a chance to deal. After the round is over the prevalent wind changes. The order of the winds are East, South, West, North.

Post Game

The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

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