Things to Read

(please note: we take a firm stance against scanslations of any kind. Manga is extremely affordable, and shipping from Amazon Japan is very reasonable – most are even available on Kindle! Manga authors are paid for every book purchased, so if you are going to read them, please support the creators of these great books. At the very least, if you are going to read scans, either stop after the first book, or start buying it as you read on. The creators of these books worked very hard to make them, the least you could do is buy them. If you are creating scanslations, perhaps you could think about releasing translations only – that way, those who truly want to read the manga will still purchase them. We’re all in this together.)

The works of Shinasaka Kouji (志名坂高次: Tohai, Lion, Bakuto, BW, etc.)
Shinasaka’s brand of smart, high-stakes Mahjong has taken him all the way to Kindai’s biweekly publication. Starting over twenty years ago with “Mahjong Club”, He’s consistently produced excellent stories, spawning a live-action series, and characters that received their own spinoffs.
Tohai (凍牌: The Frozen Tiles) is about “K”, a young rep player with an icy demeanor, that comes away from an unexpectedly large win with a girl in tow. The mystery behind her past and the forces against them drive this comic month after month. 12 volumes long, followed by an ongoing sequel Tohai – Hitobashirahen (凍牌~人柱篇~: The Frozen Tiles – Human Sacrifice Chapter), this is easily our favorite mahjong comic in print today.
Hao Densetsu Lion (牌王伝説ライオン: Tile King Legend Lion) follows the journey of Doujima, a rival and now ally of K in Tohai. A more over-the-top manga, Lion is a high-energy slice of the world of Tohai.
Bakuto (バクト: Professional Gambler) is about a high-school student who specializes in figuring out the ‘trick’ behind gambles.
BW (BW: The Beautiful World) follows mahjong players who bet first their lives, then the currency obtained by winning the lives of others, in an effort to reach an unknown goal. This sci-fi comic is much more than it first seems!
Amazon JP Link
The works of Masayuki Katayama (片山まさゆき: Million-shan-ten sa dame da!!, Obakamiiko, Janjutsushi Shiruru to Bisa Ghost, Tsumocrates, countless others)
Katayama is famous in the mahjong manga world, as a teacher to millions. His comics and unique art style have given the edge to countless players learning to get better at the game. Million Shan Ten (ミリオンシャンテンさだめだ!!) is about a player that always starts with crappy hands, Obakamiiko (打姫オバカミーコ) about a girl learning to play from a bad-natured pro, Shiruru to Bisa Ghost (雀術師シルルと微差ゴースト) involves the rivalry between quiet damaten player and a flamboyant occult star, High Tide! Tsumocrates(満潮!ツモクラテス) follows a player who strikes when the iron is hot, and on and on and on. With novels, parlors, video games, manga, and countless guest appearances at every level of the game, Katayama’s products are always worth the price of admission.
Amazon JP Link
Saki and assorted spinoffs are about girls! Who play Mahjong! (or, in the case of “Saki Biyori”, the 4-koma spinoff, don’t play mahjong at all). Big on cutesy character design, this manga is surprisingly deep on mahjong. Sure, it has crazy impossible powers, but a lot of the games are rooted in either old-style Mahjong play (Saki and the first antagonist Koromo both win hands in ways that were once considered yakuman) or unspoken things that mahjong players notice (players that always discard upside down because they are so used to teaching people, suji traps, denying players opportunities to play in certain ways, and on and on).
Comics by Ritz Kobayashi (小林 立)
Amazon JP Link
Amazon EN Link (Book 1 only $2.99!)
The works of Nobuyuki Fukumoto (福本伸行: Akagi, Ten, etc.)
One of the first manga creators Western players come across, Fukumoto is the creator of Akagi, the most famous of mahjong anime and manga. With long, detailed games and a unique character design, his works need no introduction, and are covered in detail in countless other places on the internet.
Amazon JP Link
Kindai Mahjong (近代麻雀) is a semi-weekly manga publication, featuring the best in mahjong manga, and often a mini booklet or DVD to help your play as well. You can use it to check out what’s new in Mahjong manga. Worth getting as an add-on to any Amazon Japan order.
Amazon JP Link

Majan Nanikiru Hissho Joseki is an excellent “Nani Kiru” (What Would You Cut?) guide. Starting with the simplest of examples and progressing step by step, it demonstrates excellent tile efficiency techniques and forward-thinking that can take a beginner player to new heights.
Amazon JP Link

A Reach Mahjong Study Book, by Jenn Barr, Garthe Nelson, and Gemma Sakamoto covers a number of drills as well as has forty pages of discard scenarios, including discussion thereof. A great way to see how problems are explained through. For those of you with Amazon Prime, this is part of the Kindle Lending Library, so you can read the whole thing legally for free!
Amazon Link

Riichi Book I, by Daina Chiba, has a number of great basic strategy discussions for new players. Also, it is legally free to read online!