World’s First ‘Washizu Tournament’ in the Dutch Polder
- Published on Sunday, 24 January 2010 18:00
- Written by Staff
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'