What a difference a decade makes!
As we pass another forced milestone on our calendars, it’s a great opportunity to look back at what the riichi community has achieved.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the local setbacks we all face. Maybe your online league is struggling with engagement or numbers at your club have dwindled. Perhaps your regrets are more personal… Maybe you didn’t take home a trophy, you didn’t devote enough time to study. The lists go on…
These are all things to mourn (but you’re certainly not alone in those struggles!). Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture may offer some comfort because we have come a long way! Let’s take a look at the European Mahjong Association’s stats on mahjong players
Look at those numbers! (The blip was down to the ranking system changing. EMA didn’t hold an event from which 52 players never returned from!) A strong and steady increase in riichi players that many communities would love to see.
This is impressive work and we can all share in the glory. All of us who organized events, taught new and experienced players, organized online communities, or just lent support by attending events and engaging online… We can all claim this as our victory.
It’s not just Europe where the 10s have been a decade of growth. New clubs and national organizations have been popping up across the globe from the United States to Australia. Even the ancestral home of riichi, Japan, has seen some big leaps with the introduction of a whole new professional event in M-league, specifically aimed at modernizing mahjong, getting greater engagement, and growing the community.
Riichi is now the most global it has ever been. People across the world have been consuming online content and organizing to play in real life. The World Riichi Championship and its accompanying ruleset has been one of the most visible manifestations of this. The first event in 2014 was a watershed, finally bringing two fairly disparate player bases together for a joint project in the spirit of international cooperation.
Looking to 2020
World Riichi Championship has the great honor of being able to kick off the next decade at Vienna in August. I hope that it will be ushering in not just another era of steady growth but now we have our strong foundation, we can finally catapult ourselves into the mainstream consciousness.
As the president of WRC, I want to thank the community on the behalf of the community. Without everyone’s support and encouragement, national organization activities and big events would not be possible. Please don’t stop! This is just the start!
Happy new year from Riichi Reporter!
And a final more personal thank you from both myself and Donnie for checking in either regularly or irregularly with Riichi Reporter. Each time one of you shares a post of ours or discusses it, we do little happy dances. We hope that in our own small way, we’re contributing to everyone’s enjoyment of this great game and its community. See you next year!