How to Play Japanese Three-Player Mahjong

Three-Player Mahjong Tiles

3-Player Mahjong Tiles

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Note how the Characters suit has been emasculated. All the tiles from 2-Characters to 8-Characters have been removed. Only the 1s and 9s remain.

The tiles inside the red boxes are essential. The Flower tiles and the three Red-Fives are optional extras. They may be used as extra dora (bonus, or joker) tiles. The number of Red-Five tiles varies from set to set. (If you play with Red-Fives make sure you remove the equivalent number of standard Five-Bamboo and Five-Coins tiles so that only four tiles of each suit and number are used.)

The red East Wind tessera indicates the prevailing table wind and where that round of play begins.

The three tesserae nicely illustrated with a skewered sparrow (between chopped leek) are the infamous Yakitori indicators. Each player has one and only removes it from his corner of the table when he completes a hand. Any player who fails to complete a hand in the course of a game pays the other players a fine.

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Page last modified: 10th September 2011