M.League

M.League 「Mリーグ」 is a professional mahjong team league. It is the first league in which mahjong players receive a salary for playing games. Players are drawn from the various mahjong professional leagues. An M.League season consists of a number of regular season games, followed by a playoff final. Each team is sponsored by a company and represents their respective company. All league activities take place in the M.League Studio.

M.League

M.League logo
Country Japan
Inception 2018
Leader Mr. Susumu Fujita, Chairman
(Founder/President of CyberAgent)
Members 9 teams

Format

The main format of the competition is made up of a regular season and a post-season. The basic format of the season varies in the number of hanchan played.

Current format

With nine teams, the regular season takes 108 days for 216 hanchan. This grants 96 hanchan per team. After the final day of the regular season, the top six teams advance to the semifinals, where they play 30 hanchan on a 15-day schedule (20 hanchan per team). In the finals, the top four teams play another round of 16 hanchan on an 8-day schedule.

Rules and regulations

The game rules are given in the Official M.League Rules 「Mリーグの公式戦ルール」. All games are played in the form of hanchan using AMOS brand professional mahjong tables.

Game day

Each game day session consists of two hanchan. Teams scheduled to play send one team member for each of the two hanchan. If desired, one player may play both hanchan.

Game rules

The league rules follow the general riichi mahjong rules with special competition settings. The starting score is 25,000 points; the target score is 30,000 points; the uma is +30/+10/-10/-30.[1]

Draft

Before the start of each season, a day is set for team drafts. Teams select from a field of players from the various professional organizations. The inaugural draft was held on August 7, 2018. Naturally, each team made their player selections to fill out their roster in the inaugural draft. For subsequent drafts in later years, teams had the option of drafting new players or otherwise passing on the opportunity. Beginning with the 2022–23 season, passing is no longer allowed. Currently, each team has a roster of four players.

Announcers

Main

Guest

Several guest commentators appear on the program. The most regular guest commentator is Koushou Tsuchida. Other commentators may be either current league players, former members, or other mahjong professionals.

M.League Studio

The league has its own studio for games and broadcasts. The studio is located in Hamamatsuchou, Minato, Tokyo. A jansou called M.League Stadium is open to the public in Takadanobaba.

Teams

As of the 2023–24 season, there are nine teams competing in the league. Each team must have four players drafted from five professional mahjong organizations: Saikouisen Nihon Pro Mahjong, the Japan Professional Mahjong League (JPML), Nihon Pro Mahjong Kyoukai (NPM), Mahjong Union (MU), and Real Mahjong Unit (RMU).

Overview of M.League teams
Team Company sponsor Players Joined
 
Akasaka Drivens Hakuhodo DY Media Partners Ken Sonoda (Saikouisen)
Taro Suzuki (Saikouisen)
Maki Asami (Saikouisen)
Futoshi Watanabe (Saikouisen)
2018–19
 
Beast Japanext BSJapanext Masatoshi Sarukawa (JPML)
Hiroe Sugawara (JPML)
Daisuke Suzuki (JPML)
Kana Nakada (JPML)
2023–24
 
EX Furinkazan TV Asahi Aki Nikaido (JPML)
Kenji Katsumata (JPML)
Takaya Matsugase (RMU)
Rumi Nikaido (JPML)
2018–19
 
Kadokawa Sakura Knights Kadokawa Kotaro Uchikawa (JPML)
Sayaka Okada (JPML)
Shingo Hori (NPM)
Nanba Shibukawa (NPM)
2019–20
 
Konami Mahjong Fight Club Konami Amusement Hisato Sasaki (JPML)
Mari Takamiya (JPML)
Arisa Date (JPML)
Kazunori Takizawa (JPML)
2018–19
 
SegaSammy Phoenix Sega Sammy Holdings Yuumi Uotani (JPML)
Sayaka Kayamori (Saikouisen)
Rio Toujou (JPML)
Hiroshi Daigo (Saikouisen)
2018–19
 
Shibuya Abemas CyberAgent Takaharu Ooi (RMU)
Sho Shiratori (JPML)
Yoshihiro Matsumoto (NPM)
Aiko Hinata (Saikouisen)
2018–19
 
Team Raiden Dentsu Masato Hagiwara (JPML)
Naoki Setokuma (JPML)
Saki Kurosawa (JPML)
Tomohiro Honda (JPML)
2018–19
 
U-Next Pirates U-Next Go Kobayashi (MU)
Akina Mizuhara (Saikouisen)
Yu Suzuki (Saikouisen)
Kei Nakabayashi (NPM)
2018–19

Seasons

Season Start Date End Date Winner Runner-up Top regular season player
2018–19 2018-10-01 2019-03-31 Akasaka Drivens EX Furinkazan Takaharu Ooi
2019–20 2019-09-30 2020-06-23 U-Next Pirates SegaSammy Phoenix Yuumi Uotani
2020–21 2020-10-05 2021-05-18 EX Furinkazan Kadokawa Sakura Knights Hisato Sasaki
2021–22 2021-10-04 2022-04-26 Kadokawa Sakura Knights SegaSammy Phoenix Akina Mizuhara
2022–23 2022-10-03 2023-05-19 Shibuya Abemas Konami Mahjong Fight Club Arisa Date
2023–24 2023-09-18 2024-05-17 U-Next Pirates Akasaka Drivens Yu Suzuki

Top 10 hanchan scores

Rank Player Team Score Date Season (Hanchan)
1 Taro Suzuki Akasaka Drivens 132.8 2024-02-26 2023–24 (Reg 178)
2 Saki Kurosawa Team Raiden 132.7 2022-11-07 2022–23 (Reg 41)
3 Arisa Date Konami Mahjong Fight Club 125.5 2021-11-18 2021–22 (Reg 54)
4 Koushin Asakura U-Next Pirates 122.4 2021-12-02 2021–22 (Reg 70)
5 Hisato Sasaki Konami Mahjong Fight Club 118.2 2021-04-22 2020–21 (SF 14)
6 Yuumi Uotani Sega Sammy Phoenix 114.4 2020-02-27 2019–20 (Reg 167)
7 Hisato Sasaki Konami Mahjong Fight Club 114.0 2021-02-18 2020–21 (Reg 154)
8 Yoshihiro Matsumoto Shibuya Abemas 113.7 2021-04-29 2020–21 (SF 22)
9 Shingo Hori Kadokawa Sakura Knights 112.9 2021-01-02 2020–21 (Reg 97)
10 Makoto Sawazaki Kadokawa Sakura Knights 112.1 2019-11-19 2019–20 (Reg 64)

Yakuman

So far, all the yakuman scored fall under yakuman gosanke: suuankou, daisangen, and kokushi musou. The most scored in a season was in the 2019 season with eight.

Yakuman counts (21 total)
Suuankou Kokushi Musou Daisangen
Regular Tanki
11 3 3 4

References

  1. M.League rules (in Japanese)

External links

Competition rules
M League channel
M.League in Japanese Wikipedia
Blog covering game highlights