Founder of the World Riichi Championship
A Mission Impossible Which Succeeded
Please come to Japan to talk about the World Riichi Championship, Shigekazu Moriyama wrote to me. From that moment, I knew that my Mission Impossible would succeed.
I had talked to many people and written countless emails about my dream. Riichi mahjong, the most beautiful, the most thrilling mahjong variant, deserves its own world championship, that was my conviction.
The Dutch Mahjong League and the European Mahjong Association (EMA) supported me. But we all knew that there could never be a world riichi championship without the Japanese, the inventors and still the masters of the game.
Then, all of a sudden, that email from Moriyama-san, president of JPML. He was interested. I travelled to Tokyo. The night before I would meet him, I prepared a long introduction. About friendship, about the beautiful game, about the cultural gateway between East and West. I had brought a little present and fresh treacle waffles from Holland for him.
No long introduction was needed. “What can we do”, was one of his first questions. That afternoon, we – Gemma Sakamoto, Jenn Barr, Garthe Nelson, all JPML-people, and I – had a very fruitful discussion. Many decisions were made.
The Japanese would love to go to Paris for a world championship, Moriyama-san told us. Shortly after this, our French friends Valérian and Quentin Thomas let us know that they were only too happy to welcome the Japanese in Paris.
They had to do the real hard work. But I am very happy, and proud, that I could help to pave the way for this fantastic event. With Moriyama-san, and so many others.
Riichi mahjong deserved, and celebrated indeed, its own world championship. Paris 2014 was a great success. Let’s hope that many festive competitions will follow.
‘framer of the WRC’ (Mahjong News)