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Hanchan 「半荘」 encapsulates one game of Japanese mahjong. A typical game involves two rounds designated as East and then South. Even if a game ends early, such as when a player falls below zero points, then it is still considered to be a full game. For shorter games, players may play tonpussen 「東風戦」, or East only games.

Without any player falling below 0 points, the shortest game possible is 8 hands. Of course, the shortest game possible can end in just one hand. After that, games can be of varying lengths depending on the number of dealer repeats and other game results.

Game rounds

Hand # Japanese English
0 東局1本場0 East 1
1 東局2本場0 East 2
2 東局2本場1 East 2 Bonus 1
3 東局3本場0 East 3
4 東局3本場1 East 3 Bonus 1
5 東局4本場0 East 4
6 南局1本場0 South 1
7 南局1本場1 South 1 Bonus 1
8 南局2本場0 South 2
9 南局2本場1 South 2 Bonus 1
10 南局3本場0 South 3
11 南局3本場1 South 3 Bonus 1
12 南局4本場0 South 4
Extra west round
13 西局1本場0 West 1
14 西局2本場0 West 2
15 西局2本場1 West 2 Bonus 1
16 西局3本場0 West 3
17 西局4本場0 West 4

Typical games begin with the east round, or tonkyoku 「東局」. After that, the game moves into the south round, or nankyoku 「南局」. If necessary, it can go into the west round, or shaakyoku 「西局」.

Hand designations

Kyoku 「局」 is the identifier for each mahjong hand played during the game. It uses a combination of the wind round, a number 1-4, and the honba count. As an example, the very first hand is always East Round 1, Honba 0. As the first hand of the game, it is impossible for it to have an alternative designation. All other hands afterwards may differ due to the different ways the game plays out.

For every wind rotation, the designation for the wind round increases by one. After East Round 1, then the game moves onto East Round 2. This indicates that the player to the right of the initial dealer has become the new dealer. This continues onto East Round 4, which is the last round for East. If the game continues from here, then the designation becomes South Round 1. Here, the initial dealer once again became the dealer. Only this time, it is the South Round.


Renchan 「連荘」 are additional hands, by which the wind seating do not rotate. Under English terminology, a renchan may be considered as a "bonus hand". This is possible when the dealer wins a hand, an abortive draw occurs, or the dealer is tenpai at exhaustive draw. This is a clear advantage to the dealer position, with the ability to continually retain the dealer position given the two conditions. Comebacks are very much possible and doable from taking advantage of the dealer seat.[1]

In the event when the wind seating does not change, then the honba count increases by one. For each honba, the hand value for any player is increased by 300 points. To mark honba, the dealer uses a 100 point stick to mark the number of renchan currently. The points are used as markers only temporarily and is not spent by the dealer. When the dealer seating rotates via a hand winning, the dealer receives the markers back. A game cannot end with a renchan on board. A seat wind rotation is part of the end game criteria.

In the event of chombo, the wind seating may rotate if the dealer commits the penalty. Otherwise, it may not without an increase to the honba count depending on rule specifications.


Oorasu 「オーラス」 is designated for the last dealer of the game, barring any player ending the game earlier by dropping below zero points. This is the South 4 hand; for East only, it is the East 4 hand. Naturally, if the last dealer wins, an additional hand, or renchan, may be awarded and the game continues. Though, the game may also end if the last dealer happens to be the points leader, or if the other players force a wind rotation. The term is derived from all last.


Agariyame 「和了り止め」 is a specialized rule applied at oorasu, where the last dealer makes the call to end the game after one hand, whether holding the lead or not. Ending with the lead, the last dealer secures the win for the whole game. Otherwise, the same player may make the call to continue an additional hand, or renchan. If this rule is "nashi" or "deactivated", then the final dealer seat is retained until either the dealer fails to attain tenpai or another player wins a hand. In either case, the wind is technically rotated; and the game ends.


Enchousen 「延長戦」 is an extra round, provided that no player scored above the target points (typically 30,000) at the end of the game. This round functions like an "overtime sudden death period". The instant a player scores above the target points, then the game ends immediately; and the same player wins the game. For a regular hanchan game, this extra round is indicated as the West round. For tonpussen, the South round takes on this role.


  1. http://tenhou.net/0/?log=2014010103gm-00a9-0000-ca27a20c&tw=2&ts=9

External links

Hanchan in Japanese Wikipedia