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Japanese mahjong terminology

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The following is a list of terms associated to Japanese mahjong. While it is certainly not necessary to know the Japanese terminology to the game, a player should at least be able to identify a terms reference when used or applied. However, players are highly encouraged to know the yaku by Japanese name, especially when it comes to the chanting a winning hand composition.

Seating

Dealer

The player assigned as East, the east seat-wind player.

Non-dealer

The other three players, with South being to the right of the dealer; West, across; North to the left.

Calls

All calls make the meld open and the player's hand to be open.

Melds

Chii

Call on a discard to complete a run.

Kan

Call on a discard to make a quad.

Pon

Call on a discard to complete a triplet.

Riichi

Declare a bet of ready.

Hand end

Both of these terms apply at the end of an exhaustive draw; otherwise, remain uncalled until then.

No-ten

Declare a hand is not ready.

Tenpai

Declare a hand is ready.

Wins

Agari

General declaration of a win.

Ron

Declare a win off a discard tile or a kan tile. Ron doesn't make the player's hand open, but it does make a set completed by the ronned tile to be open.

Tsumo

Declare a win with a self-drawn tile.
Also a term used for any drawn tile.

Game Rounds

Abortive draw

Any condition, aside from chombo, which ends the hand prematurely

Exhaustive draw

State of the hand when all tiles, apart from the dead wall, are drawn and resulted in no winner

Hanchan

A single game of Japanese mahjong, composed of East-South rounds.

Renchan

A single hand of mahjong, in which the wind seating does not rotate due to the dealer winning or ended the hand in tenpai

Hand composition

Ankō (ankou) or an-kōtsu (an-koutsu)

A closed meld of triplets.

Dora

Bonus tiles which increases a hand's han count.

Kansu

A meld of quads.

Mentsu

The meld. A principle in rummy, where a group of 3-tiles form a set of same suit sequences or triplets. Quads also count as a meld, functioning as a triplet plus one extra.

Minkō (minkou) or min-kōtsu (min-koutsu)

An open meld of triplets.

Shanten

The count on the number of tiles needed to reach tenpai.

Shuntsu

A sequential meld.

Suji

Specific tiles waiting based on the "octaves" of 1-4-7, 2-5-8, or 3-6-9.

Tenpai

Hand is waiting on one more tile either by draw or discard for completion.

Toitsu

A pair of tiles.

Yaku

The composition pattern and/or luck situation of a mahjong hand. See Mahjong yaku.

Scoring

Fu

"Minipoints". A value based on the individual melds

Han

A combined value on the total yaku with dora, if applicable. Due to dora, yaku equates to han, but han may not necessarily equate to yaku.

Honba

The number of consecutive hands, in which a winner is not produced. It may also include the number of times a dealer wins consecutively.

Tenbou

Scoring sticks.

External links

Terminology list Extensive list of terminology in Osamuko.

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