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The 2002 World Championship of Mah-Jongg
October 22-27, 2002, Tokyo, Japan
Formerly: "Tom's Excellent WCMJ Adventure"

Just want to see the pictures? Skip down and click the links!

Mah-Jongg players worldwide had a chance to meet and compete at the first-ever World Championship in Mah-Jongg in October of 2002 in Tokyo, Japan. The WCMJ was originally supposed to be held in Ningbo, China (birthplace of mah-jongg), but had to be moved to Tokyo. Over an intense two days, players from China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Japan, Holland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States competed for team and individual trophies.

The pages here are the personal reflections on the WCMJ from the point of view of me, Tom Sloper (this is my website you're looking at). It may be that I should have told it from a more objective point of view, but for me it was an emotional experience filled with not only the tournament itself, but joyful visits with many of my Tokyo friends. Thus it is told as more of a travel diary than anything else.

It is difficult to find words to describe the intense passion and enthusiasm felt by all the attendants of the WCMJ. I imagine that it is akin to what Olympians feel when joining their international compatriots and competitors to test their skills in their respective sporting events. We all were delighted to meet mah-jongg players from other countries, and players whom we hadn't previously met from our own countries. Every attendee (players, judges, executives, and staff) deeply felt the spirit of the event. It was tremendously moving and exciting for us all.

The organizers of the event did a magnificent job, bringing together so many elements successfully in spite of a last-minute change of venue. The proceedings were lavishly sponsored at a very fine hotel, the Hotel Grand Palace, near the Emperor's palace grounds in the heart of Tokyo. I cannot begin to express the depth of my gratitude to the organizers for their hospitality, generosity, and dedication to the game.

The 2002 WCMJ was a groundbreaking event. Whether the event will occur every year or every two years, the game of mah-jongg has received an invaluable gift. A gathering where aficionados from around the world can share in their love of the game. All of us who were involved in discussions about where the next WCMJ should take place agreed: it should take place in China, the birthplace of the game.

I can hardly wait!

Tom Sloper
Los Angeles, California, USA
November 1, 2002

The Dutch team warming up

The WCMJ was a multi-faceted event! Click on the links to read the chapters.

Click here to see a previous mah-jongg adventure in Tokyo...
Click here to read about my very first mah-jongg adventure in Japan...
Click here to see a picture essay on the subways of Tokyo.
And click here to see even more pictures from Japan.
Pictures of the 2003 China Majiang Open Championship.
Pictures of the 2005 Open European Mahjong Championship.

Visit Martin Rep's Mahjong NEWS, for more pictures of the 2002 WCMJ and the 2005 OEMC.

Copyright 2002-2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.