When I worked for Activision, I frequently traveled to Japan on Shanghai business. I wanted to add true mah-jongg to the classic Shanghai tile-matching, so I took the opportunity to do some "field research!"

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(Above.) That's me at upper right, playing with Activision Japan's Hiroshi Seno-san and the editors of Login Magazine in Tokyo, October 1997. I had no idea how to play modern Japanese Mah-Jongg then. Long story. (Click here to read it!)

(Above.) Less than 2 years later, I've learned a few things about Japanese Mah-Jongg. This is the new Mah-Jongg parlor of Takeo Kojima-san, the preeminent Mah-Jongg pro of Japan. I was so nervous! No chombo, but jet lag was my convenient excuse for any dumb little mistake.

(Above.) Here I am playing with Junko Takahashi-san, a Mah-Jongg pro and teacher, and the fine folks from Warashi, a company that develops and publishes Mah-Jongg software in Japan. Left to right: Sho Sasaki-san, Noriyuki Takasaki-san, me, and Junko Takahashi-san. June 1999. Takeo Kojima's JANKOU.

I saw Sasaki-san and Takasaki-san again during my participation in the 2002 WCMJ.

And I went back to Jankou with Martin Rep - read about that 2nd visit to Jankou by clicking HERE.

I met with Takahashi-san again in December of 1999. She and pro player Taro Suzuki-san took me to Vega, the mah-jongg parlor of pro player Kazuko Urata. Takahashi-san and Suzuki-san taught me three-player rules, and taught me some other fun games to play with mah-jongg tiles. Urata-san's webmaster interviewed me and took pictures, and put the interview on Vega's website. The interview has since been removed from the Vega site, but now it's here on

Japanese language version.         English language version.

On that same trip, I visited the Mahjong Museum in Chiba with my business associate and friend Kazuo Nii-san (that's him in the bottom frame). There I met Toshifumi Suzuki-san, Deputy Librarian, Director of Secretariat of the museum (upper frame). I donated a copy of my computer game, Shanghai: Second Dynasty, to the museum. And Suzuki-san gave me a copy of the wonderful MAJAN HAKUBUTSUKAN DAIZUROKU ("Mah-Jongg Museum Big Encyclopedia"), which is described in FAQ 3.    Dec. 1999

Click here to see more (non-mah-jongg) pictures from Japan.