Japanese movie entitled "Mahjong Horoki"

In 1984, I appeared in a movie in Japan entitled "Mahjong Horoki".

I played a minor role and really spoke only one line, which I essentially thought of myself. I played the part of a professional mahjong hustler. In Japan, when they want a foreigner actor to play a role, they try to find someone who does that thing in real life. Among the people who auditioned for a part in this movie, I came the closest to being a professional mahjong hustler, because I have hustled chess and poker plus I was holding a shogi shodan diploma (the shogi equivalent of a black belt in Japanese chess).
Mahjong Horoki

The movie Mahjong Horoki had two famous Japanese actors as stars. It was a black and white movie and was not popular when it came out, running only a few weeks in the theaters. However, it has been released in video and has become a big hit with a cult following. It is now one of the top selling videos in Japan.

In the scene in the movie in which I played a part, I and another American mahjong hustler are playing against two Japanese men at Mama's Club. One Japanese man flashes a big wad of money. However, when he and his partner start losing, the man with the money steps out and never comes back. The remaining Japanese man (who is a famous actor and the star of the movie) owes us a lot of money and has no money to pay, so my partner takes him out in the alley way and beats him up.

The man getting beat up is still a beginner at mahjong. Later, he takes up the game seriously and becomes a good player. He comes back to play us a revenge match, but by then Mama's Club is closed and out of business.

There is a scene in the movie in which a mahjong player bets the deed to his house on a game. He looses. The winner gets the house. The man who lost the house has a wife. The wife stays with the house. The winner at mahjong, who is now the owner of the house, gets the wife too! He and the wife start sleeping in the same bed together. The wife is played by a well-known Japanese actress.

Finally, there is a rematch. The man who lost the first time wins back the house and the wife. In the final game, the loser is looking at his tiles. He says "mahjong mahjong", but then falls over dead. The other players look at his tiles and find out that he was holding the winning hand when he died. They go through his pockets, take out all his money, divide it and then roll his dead body down a hill near his home.

My one big line in the movie was "Play by the rules!" This comes 17 minutes after the start of the movie. This was something which I had said myself when I had auditioned for the part. Four foreigners auditioned for the part. The directors had us play a simulated game of mahjong against each other. After several rounds of play, one of the other foreigners laid down his hand and declared himself the winner. I pointed out that he did not have a winning hand, because two of his melds were illegal under the rules of mahjong. I said to him, "You have to learn to play by the rules." The movie directors took my words and wrote them into the script.

This movie is available in the video stores in Japan.

Sam Sloan

UPDATE: On July 25, 1998, joatmon@gol.com (Jack Oatmon) provided the following information:

"Mahjong Hourouki" by ASADA Tetsuya
(It happens to be one of my favorite books)

Asada Tetsuya has also written several books under his real name: Irokawa Budai

I can't remember all of the actors/actresses that played in the movie but I am quite sure about the following two:

Bouya Tetsu: played by SANADA Hiroyuki
Dosa Ken: played by KAGA Jyouji

As a result of the information provided by Jack Oatmon, the Internet Movie Database now includes Mahjong Horoki.

UPDATE: In response to this posting, a person with a Mahjong Hourouki fan site, Akihiro Kosako, contacted me and sent me his web address, which is http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/se/~rc056956/maj/maj.html.

Here are links:

More Books from Ishi Press: To write a letter to Akihiro Kosako, who has a Mahjong Hourouki fan club, please send e-mail to the following address: rc056956@se.ritsumei.ac.jp

Contact address - please send e-mail to the following address: Sloan@ishipress.com