Thursday 29 September 2016

World’s First ‘Washizu Tournament’ in the Dutch Polder

Transparent tiles in the Akagi manga.ARNHEM - Mahjong News is organizing the first Washizu Riichi Mahjong Tournament in the world. In this tournament, mahjong sets with transparent and non-transparent tiles will be used. It is inspired by the Japanese manga ‘Akagi’.

The tournament will take place in the Dutch town of Arnhem, July 18th, just one week after the European Riichi Mahjong Championship 2010. This first edition will be a tournament on invitation. Organizer Martin Rep of MahjongNews: “I have decided to do so since we do not have any experience yet with Washizu Mahjong. We do not even know if it will be an attractive variant of riichi mahjong. For the tournament, we have to modify the EMA Riichi Rules on certain points. We are still discussing, how and where.”

Invitations to play in the tournament have been sent out and handed over today. Mr. Rep: “We know that also in Japan people are interested in participating in the tournament. That is why I have chosen a date close to the EC Riichi. Maybe they will extend their stay on the Continent for the event. To the best of my knowledge, not even in Japan a Washizu Tournament has ever been played.”


The Akagi comic, by manga artist Nobuyuki Fukumoto, has run from 2002 in the Japanese weekly magazine Modern Mahjong. In 2005, the manga was adopted into two live action movies, which contributed much to its popularity outside Japan. Nowadays, even Washizu mahjong sets are being manufactured - and sold. Of every tile in a Washizu set, there are three transparent and one opaque specimen.

Of course, this dramatically changes the way mahjong is played. In the manga, Akagi and his opponent, the evil character Washizu, both have a partner who gives them the tiles they need. “So maybe we have to play in teams”, Martin Rep says. “That is still to be discussed.”

There are more problems. In the manga, a special mahjong table is used. There is no traditional wall. The tiles that normally make out the wall, are hidden in a covered box, underneath the table top. The organizers do not have tables like those, nor do they intend to have them constructed.


Then there is the problem of the special tile sets. This one can be easier solved. Mr. Rep expects that many of the players in the tournament will want to buy Washizu sets. To encourage this, subscription fee will be lower for those who bring a set than for players who do not have one.

Will this new mahjong variant seek EMA recognition, with tournaments and a ranking? “Definitely not”, says Martin Rep. “But we do hope that the tournament will be thrilling enough to organize it each year.”

Website of the 'Akagi in Holland Tournament'
Comments (4)Comments are closed
1Monday, 25 January 2010 08:28
Alexander Doppelhofer
Hallo Martin!

Ich, Alexander Doppelhofer, EMA Nr. 01000013 melde mich hiemit zum Washizu-Tournament an.

Gruß aus Baden
2Monday, 25 January 2010 09:40
Mahjong News
I will put you on the waiting list, Alexander! Like stated in the article, the tournament is an 'invitation only' event.
3Monday, 25 January 2010 16:35
Alexander Doppelhofer
No problem for me. I am always open for new games and I have a set at home.
4Sunday, 31 January 2010 05:37
I am also planning a tournament with Washizu tiles, but this was decided before this article. Also, it has some different rules, too. Such as, red dora is used, heaven and earth hands are not used, there is no fu and no rounding, there is yaku for all opaque and for all transparent, and various other differences.
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