- Created on Thursday, 01 May 2008 05:35
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 18:00
- Written by Martin Rep
Mahjong has a great potential in Europe’
On the eve of the European Riichi Mahjong Championship, Mahjong News talks with Benjamin Boas, mahjong researcher in Japan. ‘Its potential for joining people together is unparalleled with any other game.”
HANOVER - Mahjong has the power to become real big in Europe. It is big in Japan – about a quarter of the Japanese play it – and there is no real reason why it could not be a great success in Europe as well. Says Mr. Benjamin Boas, an American mahjong researcher who is studying mahjong culture on Kyoto University in Japan.
Mr. Boas is a player in the European Riichi Mahjong Championship, which will take place in Hanover, Germany, June 21~22, 2008. Benjamin Boas also participated in the second Open European Mahjong Championship in Copenhagen last year. He won there the third prize, after Martin Wedel Jacobsen (Denmark) and Kohichi Oda (Japan).
In an interview with Mahjong News, he says that he was struck by the fact that, in Copenhagen, people from so many countries were playing mahjong together: “All playing the same game, all loving the same game. Incredibly friendly with one another. I think the potential [of mahjong] for joining people together is unparalleled with any other game.”
That is why he predicts that mahjong may have a great future in Europe: “All the European players I have met, have the potential to make mahjong a big thing, because they have that one very important ingredient: that they love the game so much.”
Mr. Boas: “At this time, no-one in Europe is making money out of mahjong. Still, there is the EMA, the European Mahjong Association. It’s the only international mahjong association. EMA is only two years old and it has something like 400 members, right now. That’s amazing. In Japan, there is a bigger industry and it has staying power, but there is a business around there, you can make money out of it. In Europe, it’s just enormous, unparalleled, the sense of enthusiasm about it. Without that, mahjong would not exist. The fact that it does, shows the real kind of potential that Europe has. I do hope they do as much as they can with it. Of course I’d like to help in any way that I can.”