Glossary of Japanese Mahjong Terms


A glossary of Japanese Mahjong terms. Contains most of the terminologies listed in this doc as well as the common yaku you might encounter. No local yaku because those suck.

Name Definition
Hanchan mahjong match consisting of 2 table rotations. Called the South Round in MJS.
Tonpuusen the same but with only 1 rotation. East Round.
Honba added counters everytime when a non-east player DOESN’T win the round. Increments value of hand by 300. Symbolized by 100 point tenbo.

round counter. Uses japanese numerals. So:

East 1 - Ton iikyoku
East 2 - Ton Nikyoku
East 3 - Ton Sankyoku
East 4 - Ton Yonkyoku.

With the south round, switch Ton with Nan.

Orasu All Last, the final round (S4)
Renchan dealer repeat
Oya dealer
Ryuukyoku terminal draw, happens when tiles run out and nobody wins by last discard
Kamicha player before you (on your left)
Shimocha player after you (on your right)
Toimen player opposite of you
Ari rule is respected
Nashi rule is not respected
Atozuke rule allowing you to win if your yaku is dependent on only one of your multiple outs. For example, yakuless hand with shanpon wait for 9m and Hatsu can win on Hatsu discard. Gets fucked by wrong draw often.
Kuitan open tanyao (nashi = no open tanyao, ari = open tanyao allowed)
Kuikae ability to swap calls, for example, call chi on 5 for 34 and discard 2. Not allowed on MJS.
Nashi Nashi old ruleset in which there are no akadora, and tanyao can be only closed yaku. Also atozuke nashi according to these sources: 1 2 3 4 5
Ii 1
Ryan 2
San 3
Suu 4
Uu 5
Rou 6
Chii 7
Paa 8
Kyuu/Chuu 9
Pinzu, Souzu, Manzu (or Wanzu) suits (pins, bamboos and cracks respectively).
Shanten Number of tiles required to reach tenpai (0 shanten). So, for example, ryanshanten requires two tiles to reach tenpai.
Ukeire tile acceptance. Pool of tiles that decrease shanten count.
Ton East wind
South wind
West wind
North Wind
Red Dragon
White Dragon
Hatsu Green Dragon
Haipai initial hand of 13/14 tiles.
Mentsu meld of three. Four mentsu and pair makes winning hand
Shuntsu sequence, for example 123
Taatsu two tiles that make up mentsu after adding one more tile, ex: 46
Koutsu Triplet
Minkou (commonly refered to as just Pon) open triplet
Ankou closed triplet
Kan quad
Ankan closed kan
Shouminkan lesser Kan, upgraded from minkou
Daiminkan Kan called directly from hand.
Spicy houteihai the last tile of the game. Very dangerous.
Tsumo act of drawing a tile.
Giri act of discarding a tile
Tedashi discarding a tile from hand
Tsumogiri discarding just drawn tile
Shonpai live tile
Yaochuu terminals and honors
Agari Broad term referring to winning on particular tiles.
Takame higher payoff. Refers to win while in multiple wait, where one tile produces more value. Common examples: chanta, sanshoku
Yasume lower payoff. Opposite of takame.
Machi wait
Tanki wait for single tile for pair. Only kind of wait allowed in chiitoitsu.
Shanpon double pair wait, for completion of triplet
Kanchan middle wait, in case of 46 sequence, wait is on 5.
Penchan end wait, 12 waiting on 3 or 89 waiting on 7.
Ryanmen double sided wait, for example 45 waiting on 3 or 6. Basis of omotesuji.
Omotesuji groups of tiles separated by 3. So 1,4,7 ; 2,5,8; 3,6,9
Urasuji tiles adjacent to omotesuji. So for 5 urasuji is else 1,4 or 6,9. 
Betaori act of folding your hand to avoid dealing in. Focuses on dealing safe tiles.
Genbutsu safe tile.
Kabe method of defense focused on checking if there are valid ways to form specific ryanmen waits remaining in the game.
Ryankan not a wait per se, but one of iishanten constructs. Usually something like 468, when entering tenpai allows you to make suji-trapped kanchan wait, so dealing 4 and waiting for 7.
Sanmenchan three sided wait, something like 23456 waiting for 1,4,7.
Nobetan double tanki wait, for example 2345 waiting for 2 and 5. Does not enable pinfu.
Sanmentan triple tanki wait: 1234567 waiting for 1,4,7.
Entotsu ryanmen+shanpon wait. For example, 45666 + RR waits for 3,6 and R.
Ryantan ryanmen+tanki, for example 4555 waiting for 3,4,6.
Kantan kanchan+tanki, 3555 waiting for 3 and 4.
Aryanmen 4566 waiting for 3 and 6.
Harabote worst wait. 4556 waiting for 5.
Hadaka tanki tanki wait after 4 calls. Makes your yaku completely transparent and renders you defenseless.
Jigoku tanki waiting for tanki honor tile while two of them are visible (in pond or as dora indicator). Absolutely based.
Karaten empty tenpai, tenpai with no possible way of winning.
Nomi act of having only a single yaku (mostly referred to Riichi Nomi, but might also be used for tanyao), without any visible dora.
Damaten closed hand tenpai without calling riichi, especially effective in 4:30 area.
Mentanpin short for Riichi Pinfu Tanyao. Bread and butter of mahjong.
Menhon - menzen honitsu closed honitsu
Oyaman mangan by oya, 12k points
Oyahane haneman by oya, 18k points
Jikaze seat wind
Bakaze round wind
Otakaze neutral wind
Oikake riichi pursuit riichi, calling riichi just after another player, usually on a tile safe against him, to fish out potential ippatsu + additional riichi stick.
Sashikomi dealing with intent, rather dumb idea when playing with akadoras
Yakitori state of not having any wins after the end of hanchan.
Tenpai Ready Hand
Menzenchin Closed Hand
Riichi Ready hand - This is the only yaku, by which players have the option to declare or not. Otherwise, hands may possibly win without it, if it remains closed with other valid yaku. 1 Han
Tanyao All Simples - No honors or (terminal) are used. 1 Han
Menzenchin tsumo Fully Concealed Hand - Drawing the winning tile with a closed hand. 1 Han
Yakuhai Seat Wind/Prevalent Wind/Dragon - Specific collection of any dragon, seat wind, or round wind tiles. 1 Han
Pinfu No-points hand - Every tile group must be a sequence plusone non-yakuhai pair. The potential winning tiles must be tiles from both sides of a sequence (ryanmen wait). 1 Han
Iipeikou Pure Double Sequence - This yaku uses two-identical sequences. 1 Han
Chankan Robbing a Kan - Winning with a tile used for an added kan by another player. When you have a Tenpai for Thirteen Orphans, you can call on a closed Kan. 1 Han
Rinshan kaihou After a Kan - Drawing a winning tile after a kan call. 1 Han
Haitei raoyue Under the Sea - Winning with the last tile draw. 1 Han
Houtei raoyui Under the River - Winning off of the last possible discarded tile for the hand. 1 Han
Ippatsu One-shot - Win a hand within 1 turn after declaring Riichi, in addition draws/discards must not be interrupted by tile calls during that turn. 1 Han
Double riichi Double-ready - Declare Riichi with your starting hand before any tiles are called. 2 Han
Sanshoku Doukou Triple Triplets - Needs three identically numbered triplets across the three suits. 2 Han
Sankantsu Three Quads - Requires three quads, which are considered as triplets plus one extra. 2 Han
Toitoi All Triplets - Every tile group is a triplet. 2 Han
Sanankou Three Concealed Triplets - Three closed triplets. 2 Han
Shousangen Little Three Dragons - Win a hand with two triplets out of the three Dragon Tiles, plus a pair of the third dragon tile. 2 Han
Honroutou All Terminals and Honors - Only honor and terminal groups. 2 Han
Chiitoi Seven Pairs - Win a hand with seven different pairs. "Best Yaku"
Chanta Half Outside Hand - Every tile group with an honor or terminal. 2 Han Closed/1 Han Open.
Ittsuu Pure Straight - A complete string of 1-9 tile naturally use sequences of the same suit. 2 Han Closed/1 Han Open.
Sanshoku doujun Mixed Triple Sequence - this yaku uses three identically numbered sequences across the three suits. 2 Han Closed/1 Han Open.
Ryanpeikou Twice Pure Double Sequence - this yaku uses two-identical sequences two times. 3 Han.
Junchan Fully Outside Hand - Every tile group with a terminal. Also known as the cutest yaku. 3 Han Closed/2 Han Open.
Honitsu Half Flush - Honor tiles with one suit. 3 Han Closed/2 Han Open.
Chinitsu Full Flush - All tiles are the same suit. 6 Han Closed/5 Han Open.
Nagashi Mangan Mangan at Draw - Win a game with all your discarded tiles being Terminal Tiles and no one has called them.
Kazoe Yakuman A yakuman composed of regular yaku that accumulates into 13 han. Pretty based, unless it's some disgusting dora 12 bullshit.
Tenhou Blessing of Heaven - Win a hand as a dealer in the first turn with the first draw.
Chiihou Blessing of Earth - Win a hand as a non-dealer in the first turn before any tiles are called
Daisangen Big Three Dragons - Win a hand with three triplets or quads of all the three Dragon Tiles. Can be opened
Suuankou Four Concealed Triplets - Win a hand with four closed Triplets. A tanki wait for Suuankou is considered a Double Yakuman.
Tsuuiisou All Honors - Win a hand that consists entirely of honor tiles.
Ryuuiisou All Green - This hand consists of any four tile groups and a pair that consists of only 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 of souzu and/or the green dragon tiles. Literally, this hand is composed of "all green" painted tiles
Chinroutou All Terminals - every tile is a terminal, or 1's or 9's. No other tile type are used: no simples (2-8) or honors.
Kokushi musou Thirteen Orphans - it requires of one of each terminal tile from each suit and one of each of the honor tiles. The 14th tile must be a duplicate of any terminal or honor tile. A 13-wait kokushi (waiting for any terminal/honor) is considered a Double Yakuman.
Shousuushi Four Little Winds - A yakuman hand that requires three groups winds, and a pair of the last wind.
Daisuushi Four Big Winds - a yakuman hand that requires groups of all four winds. Double Yakuman.
Suukantsu Four Quads - A yakuman in where the hand has collected kan four times.
Chuuren poutou

Nine Gates - A yakuman hand that contains the 13-tile pattern 1-1-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-9-9 of the same suit, plus any one more tile from the suit. A 13 sided wait True Nine Gates is worth Double Yakuman.

The goal of every Mahjong Player, as achieving this yakuman immediately gets you killed.