Saki Got Me Into Riichi Mahjong

If you are watching Saki: Achiga-hen, have seen the original Saki series, Akagi, Mudadzumo Naki Kaikaku, or that other mahjong anime that I forgot the name of, then you would probably know how to play Riichi (Japanese) Mahjong or have an interest in learning how.

For me, I marathoned the original Saki anime back in April in preparation for this season’s Saki: Achiga-hen. I wasn’t expecting Saki to be one of my all time favorites, let alone pulled in by the game at all, but recently, there have been times that I feel a very strong urge to see some resin tiles. I watched Saki with zero knowledge about mahjong, and came out wanting to learn how to play.

At first, I tried everyone’s best friend, Wikipedia, and I learned quite a bit about the nature of the game, as well as the scoring system and the tile combinations. It was hard to put the knowledge to practice though, as the game does have a long learning curve. I was really stupid on my first days, calling tiles (pon and chii) like no tomorrow without advancing my hand. I was completely in the dark, partially because I used this to play.

Then I got Saki Portable for the PSP. It somewhat helped me gain more experience. Though I made use of Saki’s mahjong powers most of the time, the game did make me more able to read discards and tell which tiles are dangerous (not literally). I also developed a potentially bad habit of making toitoi (no sequences) hands, though.

Riichi, Pinfu, Dora 1 – 3 han, 30 fu – 5800 points

By May, I had enough confidence in my game to try the online mahjong. A friend introduced me to Tenhou, a large Riichi Mahjong website hosting online flash-based mahjong. I had good days, being the winner or second placer, really bad days when I go under 0 points, and very rare moments where I manage to pull off a yakuman.

Tenhou was like a drug to me. I would play mahjong at least once every day. Since the popular variation of mahjong here in the Philippines is the original Chinese mahjong, or the Filipino alternative card game, Tong-Its, I can’t find many people who are interested in the game where I lived. So I had no choice but to play online. In between school, watching anime, working, sleeping, eating, writing blog articles and TLC-ing yuri eroge, I would play Riichi mahjong on my PC, my roommate’s laptop, internet cafes or my PSP.

So yeah, I find it amazing how an anime got me so into a game that never in my life I imagined that I would be playing. I’m never one to gamble with money, so Riichi mahjong, with a point system, is really a game that I am able to enjoy.

Currently, I’m an 8th dan in Tenhou under my ID, @fkeroge. I have played with some people that I knew from the internet and real life, but I’ve only been able to touch real mahjong tiles only once. If you also know how to play and want to battle it out with a stranger like me, go to either the /a/ or /u/ Tenhou lobbies. If you see me there, I would play anyone if we have enough players.

Ah, before I forget to mention, I’ve recently got into the greatest online Riichi Mahjong client ever made, JanRyuMon. It’s about the closest thing to Saki’s levels of visual effects. If you really want to play online mahjong in style, go for JanRyuMon. Here are instructions on how to install the client, and get playing. My nick over there is afkeroge, by the way.

For those asking – yes, you have to know at least a bit of Japanese to play any of the games I mentioned.

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17 Responses to Saki Got Me Into Riichi Mahjong

  1. Carillus says:

    Play with me once in a while. I’m not very good and I’m not registered, but I’ve been on Tenhou for the past two years.

  2. randName says:

    Also, the version is pretty good if you’re temporarily without people and need a quick fix… it certainly doesn’t teach, but once you have actual skills it is a good outlet for practice.

    • @fkeroge says:

      Eh… then why not go to Tehou’s 0000 lobby? There, you get to play real people, and there are always people playing. That, or JanRyuMon.

  3. Nya-chan Production says:

    8th dan? Whoah, I struggle to make it past 2nd dan~ ^^;
    But then, I play IRL too :3

  4. Leap250 says:

    Huh..I don’t know how to play Riichi or Chinese mahjong (I’ve see other people play though), but I didn’t know Tong-Its was a variant of it. That’s actually pretty interesting

    A friend of mine recommended Saki a while back, though I’ve yet to actually watch it. I should get to that soon, lol

    • @fkeroge says:

      Yong-its was derived from Chinese mahjong. That’s why you call out chao and pong there too.

      And yes, you should watch Saki. It’s one of the most awesome things ever.

  5. Cytrus says:

    8th dan o_0. Scary.

    • @fkeroge says:

      Nah, I just like playing. I’ve suffered more losses (second place and below) than wins.

      • Cytrus says:

        Don’t joke around here. With four players trying equally hard for 1st place, the win ratio should be around 25% for an average player. If your win ration is close enough to the combined 2-3-4th place ratio that you feel the need to state that you lose more often then win, then you’re one nasty monster indeed 😛


        Just started playing on Tenhou recently. I’ll pop in on /u/ one of those days so we can play ;).

  6. Zoamelgustar says:

    The JanRyuMon guide you linked to is down. Know any other places with English language JRM guides? There’s this short thing made by someone from /a/ ( but sadly it doesn’t have much info. I was able to register and download the thing and can play games and whatnot but there are lots of cool functions on JRM… expect I don’t know Japanese. OTL

  7. FelGrand says:

    Hello. I’ve also gotten into Mahjong through Saki. I play in Tenhou too. Maybe we could play against each other sometime on /a/ or /u/? (As we speak, I am already in /a/, no one seems to be playing though)


    • Iosmk says:

      Both me and Felgrand started Mahjong because of Saki. we rushed through Saki (kinda together, i was 1 week earlier than him but that doesn’t matter since we started off to play our real ~career~ of mahjong at the same time). And yeah it’s just awesome. Hope 3 of us can play together. I am 2 Dan in janryumon and I think Felgrand reaches 2 dan too.

      • Iosmk says:

        And not sure if it’s coincidence or what, but we REALLY start off since april, ever since saki achiga attracted my attention. And that’s exactly the same time as you watched saki too. :V kore ha unmei ka? D:

  8. RandomGuy1801 says:

    Hey, Saki got me into riichi mahjong too! I came for the girls, stayed for the rules.

  9. XKime Aisun says:

    I think you mean 8kyu. I have searched you among the top ranked players (4d-10d) and you are not in there anywhere. Do you use another nickname?

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