Mahjong Book by Whitney

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or2az
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Mahjong Book by Whitney

Post by or2az » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:39 am

Found a couple of books on Mahjong at a bookstore today and was wondering if they were worth reading. There are some references in this section regarding the Whitney book (as opposed to Mahjong Media) which is why I posted this here. Some comments were favorable, some not so much.The book is copyrighted 1964. I looked at the 5th edition (1970) and the fourteenth edition (1979). They seemed identical, and possibly outdated. I found a slight mention of riichi and no mention of red fives. The only section of the book that looked like it might be somewhat worthwhile (to non-beginners) is part 3 on strategy. Does anyone have any more recent updated opinions on this book?
The only thing I can say about the other book is that I wasn't crazy about it. (author is Chung Wu, 1973)
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Re: reading material??

Post by Barticle » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:11 am

In the latest edition of the Noss Whitney (2007 I think) they've added colour images throughout and kanji in the appended glossary/index. That long section on general strategy is excellent and the glossary is good too; the description of the rules is less clear and it's an older version pre-dating dora and tiered limits which is why they finally amended the book's subtitle from "How to Play, Score and Win the Modern Game" (as above) to just "How to Play, Score and Win"! :lol:

It's one of very few English books describing Japanese rules and terminology though and worth picking up for the strategy guide if nothing else.

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Re: Mahjong Book by Whitney

Post by or2az » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:02 am

just picked this up on ebay for 4 dollars. Thought it would be a newer edition of the one above, but it wasn't.
(even though it had the amended title)
Just a later printing (2001 I think) of my 1970 edition, in trade paperback size.
I did finally see the new 2007 color edition at the library. Nicer, but still lacking, except for the strategy section.
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Re: Mahjong Book by Whitney

Post by Krabman » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:27 pm

It's a pretty cool book. I used to have one and even translated the whole strategy section to Polish on my blog.

It introduces some useful strategic concepts that newbies may not be aware of. I've never got to read the part about Mahjong rules but it seemed to be quite elaborate.

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Re: Mahjong Book by Whitney

Post by Barticle » Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:47 pm

Hmm, I guess they changed the title slightly earlier. Would've been better if they revised the text instead!

Perhaps in a future edition they could update the scoring scales, add limits, add dora and update the riichi rules.

Until that happens the book at least provides an interesting historical snapshot of the 1960's Japanese rule-set.

For reference the edition with the colour pics has this cover:
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ISBN-13 = 978-0-8048-3874-0

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Re: Mahjong Book by Whitney

Post by or2az » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:18 pm

To satisfy my own curiosity, I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of the 2001 yellow cover edition, which I bought, and the 2007 white cover edition, from the library, and I found them to be completely identical except for the illustrations now being in color.
The scoring chart has been moved to the back of the book, and even though the print seems slightly smaller, the newer edition has 191 pages as opposed to 176, probably due to more spacing between the paragraphs.
The price for a new copy has naturally increased from $14.95 to $18.95, in US dollars.

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Re: Mahjong Book by Whitney

Post by Goldeneye » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:38 pm

I am wondering exactly when the concept of dora and red fives were introduced (and I believe it to be around the early 1980s, but I can be wrong), since I remember the concept of dora (and maybe red fives) is already understood by 1989, since the Japanese-only release of Yakuman for the Game Boy does have the concept of dora there.

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Re: Mahjong Book by Whitney

Post by Ignatius » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:49 am

Goldeneye wrote:I am wondering exactly when the concept of dora and red fives were introduced (and I believe it to be around the early 1980s, but I can be wrong), since I remember the concept of dora (and maybe red fives) is already understood by 1989, since the Japanese-only release of Yakuman for the Game Boy does have the concept of dora there.
Looks like the concept of Dora was created in 1947-48. But the modern rules are from 1953-54. And the word comes from the english "dragon". The info is from the Japanese Wikipedia.

The red fives were there in 1964, some say those tiles were born due the Japanese olimpics. There is proof of its existence in the Gekkan Kindai Mahjong of that year, september issue. Or at least that's what I found on the Net...
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Re: Mahjong Book by Whitney

Post by Scott Miller » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:50 pm

The earliest I've found red fives is it's introduction during the 1970 Japanese World Exposition in Osaka (the Osaka Worlds Fair). The number 5 was chosen because the 5p most resembles the national flower, the sakura, and originally there were four red fives, one for each of the main islands that make up Japan.

月刊近代麻雀 Gekkan Kindai Mājan may have preexisted as far back as 1964, although Wikipedia claims it was founded later in 1972. Finding a 1960's issue with red fives would change my understanding of the origin for the red fives.
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