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Naki 「鳴き」, or "calls", are legal claims on an immediately discarded tile. When an opponent discards a tile you can claim, you can call it to add it to your hand. Upon claiming a discard, the player's hand is then considered open. An open hand is unable to call riichi and is unable to score yaku like menzen tsumo. In addition, some yaku decrease in value after opening. However, opening the hand can allow you to complete it faster.


For each immediate discard, players may claim a tile if:

  • The hand contains 2 out of the three tiles necessary to form a complete meld (see below).
  • The claim was made immediately after the discard, before the next player's turn. Otherwise, a discarded tile remains in the discard pile.
  • If the discarded tile completes a hand, then any player may call ron, overriding the other tile calls.

Calls are not mandatory. When making a call for a discarded tile (chii, pon, open kan), your hand is considered open. As mentioned above, open hands cannot call riichi, are ineligible for certain yaku, and receive -1 han for certain other yaku.

Any call made by any player, except riichi, will immediately invalidate tenhou, chiihou, double riichi, ippatsu, and the option for kyuushu kyuuhai. For example, if the player to your left calls chii on the first turn, you cannot declare double riichi.


When making a call, the tiles used for the call are revealed and placed to the side. These tiles are still considered part of the player's hand, but cannot be changed. Therefore, each call reduces the number of tiles you can choose to discard. After making a call, the player discards a tile.

The claimed tile must be arranged sideways to indicate the claimed tile. It must also be arranged on the left, middle, or right to indicate the source of the claim. This notation helps with the enforcement of furiten, as a claimed tile is still a part of the original player's discard pile.

Tile calls

Tile calls can only be formed when it would complete a mentsu or complete a winning hand. These are shown below:

Chii チー Sequences
Pon ポン Three-of-a-kind
Kan カン Four-of-a-kind
Ron ロン Win on discard


Chii 「チー」 completes a sequence, to form minjun.

Only the player to the right of the discarded may call chii. In other words, you can only call chii from the left player's discards. Therefore, the tile turned sideways is always indicated on the left. Chii may be particularly subject to the rule of kuikae - when calling a sequence, you cannot discard a tile that would have completed the same sequence. See below for details.


Left Across Right

Pon 「ポン」 turns a pair of identical tiles into a minkou (open triplet).

Unlike chii, pon may be called from any player on the board. Because any player may call, sometimes a player's turn may be skipped.


Kan 「カン」 are triplets "upgraded" into four-of-a-kinds. Unlike the other calls, kan has some added procedures. In addition, there are three different types of kan:

  • Daminkan (open kan) are called like pon, except you need three of the same tile.
  • Ankan (closed kan) can be called when four of the same tile are in your hand (without needing to claim a discarded tile). Ankan does not open your hand. You are not allowed to call ankan immediately after calling pon or chii.
  • Shouminkan (added kan) can be called when you have previously called pon, then draw the fourth tile yourself. This call turns the called triplet into a kan call.

All forms of kan are still considered triplets, just with one extra tile. Therefore, in order to maintain the hand, one tile is drawn from the dead wall. Also, any form of kan reveals kandora. For more information, see the kan page.


Instance where Ron, Kan, Pon, or Chii may be called.

Agari 「アガリ」 is the generic call for a winning tile. However, it is rare, if ever, for anyone to actually call "Agari" upon winning. Instead, the term is used to describe the state of winning.


Ron 「ロン」 is a tile call to win from a discarded tile. Under furiten, a player may not call ron; otherwise, it is a violation of rules and subject to chombo penalty. Note: you must also have a yaku in order to declare a win.

Ron opens the group of tiles, but does not open the hand. When competing a triplet via ron, the triplet is worth reduced fu, and the triplet no longer counts as a "closed triplet" in regards to sanankou / suuankou. The hand itself is not opened, though, so yaku like iipeikou are unaffected (even if the winning tile completes the iipeikou, it still counts).

Call precedence

When multiple players can call a tile, the following takes precedence:

  1. Ron or Agari
  2. Kan or Pon
  3. Chii

It is impossible for kan and pon to be called simultaneously. A call for kan requires 3 copies of a tile, the call for pon requires 2 more copies of a tile, but there are only 4 tiles total. It is possible for pon/kan and chii to be called together; the player who calls pon gets the tile. A call for ron/agari will override any other tile call.


Kuikae is a rule which, when making a call, prevents you from immediately discarding a tile that could have completed that call. Under kuikae, calling pon on a 5-pin, then discarding a 5-pin is not allowed. Similarly, after calling chii on a 4-sou with 23-sou, you cannot discard a 1-sou or 4-sou. You are allowed to discard these tiles on any turn afterwards, just not on the turn you made the call. While it is not a fundamental rule, the kuikae restriction is common.


Kuisagari 「喰い下がり」 is a property of some yaku to lose value when called open. When calling a discard and opening the hand, the player sacrifices 1-han per yaku affected by this rule. This is obviously a negative, though calling allows you to complete the hand faster.

The following yaku are affected directly by kuisagari:

From 2 han to 1 han From 3 han to 2 han From 6 han to 5 han
Sanshoku Honitsu Chinitsu
Ittsu Junchan

Similarly, some yaku can only be scored with a closed hand. Certain yaku, like chiitoitsu and mentsumo, are closed based on their structure or nature. Other yaku, like iipeikou, the requirement of a closed hand is entirely artificial. Unlike instances of kuisagari, you cannot use these yaku to fulfill the yaku requirement of an open hand: these are not considered 0 han yaku. For ryanpeikou in particular, if it were affected by kuisagari, it would score 2 han when opened. But in actuality, you cannot achieve ryanpeikou at all with an open hand.

Finally, some yaku are not affected by kuisagari. Even when open, they retain their original han value. These are yakuhai, toitoi, sanankou, sanshoku doukou, shousangen, sankantsu, as well as any yakuman that can be scored with an open hand.


A side effect to kuisagari involves atozuke. Tile calls may put a hand into position where one of its waiting tiles do not produce valid yaku. With this in mind, tile calls must be made with careful discretion.

Closed tile calls

Kan カン Forming a quad
Kita キタ Picking a North dora
Riichi リーチ Ready hand declaration
Tsumo ツモ Win by self-draw

These tile calls do not apply to discards, and therefore, do not open your hand. Just like the discard calls, these calls are announcements.


Apart from claiming a discard to form a quad, a quad may also be formed by adding the fourth tile from the hand to the open triplet, or by taking out four identical tiles form the hand.


In some rules of three-player mahjong, North tiles may be picked and functions as a dora.


Riichi 「リーチ」 is a player's declaration for a ready hand. If desired, a player may announce riichi prior to discarding and invoke the rules involving riichi as a yaku. Riichi does not interrupt opponents' tenhou, chiihou, etc.


Tsumo 「ツモ」 is the declaration for winning by self-draw. This may apply to any hand, open or closed. With a closed hand, it also counts as for the yaku, mentsumo. Even when furiten, it is acceptable to win the hand.

Open vs closed

Before making a tile call, players should consider "is it worth opening the hand, or is it better to remain closed?" Naturally, there are advantages to both. For starters, players should know the yaku and their hand values. A closed hand can call riichi and is thus worth more; an open hand is faster. Players should consider their point standing, hand value, number of tile draws left, and other factors before opening. For more details, see naki strategy.

Yakuman hands, assuming they can be won open, don't reduce in value after a call. Since they are so hard to complete, opening is often necessary to actually win with one.

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