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Akagi is a manga, or Japanese comic, that was created by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. It was first published in 1992 and is still being released today in the magazine Modern Mahjong, as the series focuses on the game of Mahjong. In 2005 it was adapted into an anime, and it was also turned into a feature length movie. It is considered to be a prequel manga, as the lead character, Akagi, also appears, older, in Fukumoto’s other manga, Ten.


  • Shigeru Akagi – Akagi begins as a young boy, who stumbles into a Mahjong parlor in order to rest for a bit. A man named Nanjou is playing a game of Mahjong – with his life being the forfeit if he loses. He is well on his way to losing, when Akagi, who has never played Mahjong, tells him what to do. He ends up winning the match, and winning his life. It is because Akagi takes large risks that he’s able to be an amazing MahJong player. He decides to become a professional player. He is fearless and calculating and because of this, is able to move up extremely high in the first competition he enters. He ends up becoming a legendary Mahong player.
  • Yasuoka – Yasuoka is a detective. He is not an honest detective, though, but a dirty one who is only out for himself. He takes advantage of Akagi so that he can rise up in the financial world.
  • Yagi – Yagi is the first professional player to take on Akagi. He tries to cheat to win, but Akagi is able to outsmart him.
  • Yukio Hirayama – Yukio is a MahJong player that represents the Kawada Ykuza group. He looks very similar to Akagi, but plays using math instead of trusting his instincts, like Akagi does.
  • Ichikawa – Ichikawa is a professional MahJong player who is blind. He has been compared to Akagi, which Akagi takes offense to, and Akagi defeats him to prove that he is the better player.


MahJong was first played over four thousand years ago. Only the Chinese aristocrats were allowed to play it, and kept the rules of the game to themselves. It was only in 1911 that the public learned how to play MahJong. MahJong could be considered to be a game much like gin rummy, only more complicated and using tiles. It is played by four people, each of whom are trying to create a winning hand. There is some skill to MahJong, but a lot of it relies on luck.

In order to play, each player is given 13 tiles. They then must draw from the pile, or from the tile wall. The player is trying to get 13 tile variations in order to win. If you pick up a tile, you have to discard one, or else you will be disqualified. Flower tiles may or may not have point values, depending on the rules that you are playing with. It is possible to purchase MahJong cards, but most players feel that it is not truly MahJong unless you are playing with, and hearing, the click-clack of the tiles.

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