Rosti’s Riichi Lexicon (Part 2)

Guest contributor Rosti of The Mahjong Guide offers up this guide to riichi vocabulary that states what we’re all thinking! Visit The Mahjong Guide for strategy and replays, or follow Rosti on Twitch and watch him stream games from the Tokujou room on Tenhou.

If you’ve missed Riichi Lexicon Part 1, go back and make sure you’ve done your homework! I’ll wait…

  • haipai – The collection of 13 tiles you get at the start of each round that claims to be a ‘hand’.
  • dora ni, dora san – Terms used by people who are too cultured to use words like “two” or “three”.
  • tembou – Plastic sticks that you consistently give away to opponents as the game progresses.
  • 1-shanten – the term used for a hand that is almost tempai but will most likely never actually get there.
  • oikake-riichi – A strategy your opponents use immediately after you riichi with a bad wait.
  • atamahane/head-bump – A situation where you win a hand but you’re not allowed to collect any points for it.
  • Tenhou – An incredibly lucky yakuman hand. Also a mahjong client for nerds.
  • Majsoul – A mahjong client for people who can’t stand playing mahjong unless it’s accompanied by cat ears and/or under-dressed schoolgirls.
  • tompuusen – A shortened game mode for people who prefer the end result to be primarily based on luck rather than skill.
  • hanchan – A game mode played by people who clearly have too much time to spend on mahjong.
  • sanma – A three player variant for people who kind of like mahjong but also don’t really like mahjong at all.
  • atozuke – A hand that has been opened, but where the player was so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.
  • karagiri – A discard technique used when you want to feel like you’ve done something clever, but without actually impacting the game in any way because your opponents aren’t paying enough attention.
  • pao/seikin barai – A penalty payment that you become liable for when it turns out your opponent actually did have that hand already.
  • ryuukyoku – A state of the game that is reached when you managed to declare riichi early.
  • honroutou – A hand that looks like it should be worth far more points than it actually is.
  • kyuushuu kyuuhai – A starting hand that’s so bad that you are allowed to have another go.
  • chombo – The penalty payment for when you accidentally noten riichi and for once your opponents didn’t win before it went to a draw.
  • fu – A scoring mechanic that nobody truly understands.
  • sanrenkou – A hand containing three consecutive triplets in the same suit, which looks pretty but is typically not actually worth any points.
  • shiipai – An action performed before each hand when you’re not fancy enough to own an auto-table.

P.S.: If you’ve stumbled across this looking for genuine help on what some of these terms mean, try this slightly more accurate and helpful glossary!