top of page
Beginner's Lesson 7

Basic Yaku

In this lesson, we will be reviewing 3 of the yaku from Mahjong Lite. These are some of the most common yaku in riichi mahjong, so it is important to master them.


The first yaku we will review is tanyao. It is called “All Simples” in English because all of the tiles in your hand have to be “simple tiles” (number tiles 2 through 8).


The second yaku is yakuhai. Each triplet of yakuhai is a yaku. In Mahjong Lite, all honor tiles were yakuhai, but that is not the case in riichi mahjong. The haku, hatsu, and chun are always yakuhai, but only 1 or 2 wind tiles are yakuhai for each player.


Which wind tiles are yakuhai for each player depends on that player’s seat wind and the round wind. The round wind, which is usually either east or south, is yakuhai for every player. Each player also has their own seat wind, which is yakuhai for that player. For example, in the east round, if a player’s seat wind is north, then both the east and north are yakuhai for that player. If a player’s seat wind and the round wind are the same, then a triplet of that wind tile is worth double, but no other wind tiles are yakuhai for that player.


The third yaku is pinfu. Pinfu is a very common yaku, but it requires your hand to meet a few conditions. The first is that your hand has no triplets; it must be only sequences. The second is that the final wait of the hand must be a ryanmen wait. The third is that your pair must not be yakuhai tiles. As covered above, yakuhai are haku, hatsu, chun, the round wind, and your seat wind; if your hand contains any of these tiles, it cannot qualify for pinfu. Therefore, the final shape of a pinfu hand will be: A pair of non-yakuhai tiles, 3 completed sequences, and a ryanmen wait to complete a fourth sequence.


Each of these yaku are worth 1 han. “Han” are the main scoring element in riichi mahjong. The details of the scoring system will be covered in a later lesson.


Here are 2 videos explaining these yaku by Light Grunty:


Tanyao and Yakuhai


In the next lesson, we will cover some sequence-based yaku.
bottom of page