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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.

Wind rounds

Designation Japanese English

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


Renchan are additional hands, by which the seat wind rotation does not occur. This is possible when the dealer wins a hand, an abortive draw occurs, or the dealer is tenpai at exhaustive draw. To mark honba, the dealer uses a 100 point stick to mark the number of renchan currently. The points used as a marker is only temporary and is not spent by the dealer. When the dealer seating rotates, the dealer receives the markers back. A game cannot end with a renchan on board, unless a seat wind rotation occurs.


Oorasu (All last) 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. 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.

Agari yame

Agari yame is a specialized rule applied at oorasu, where the last dealer as the points leader makes the call to end the game after one hand. Otherwise, the same player may make the call to continue an additional hand, or renchan.


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.

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