The Automatic Mahjong Table in Asia is as common as a TV or computer is in the USA. In Asia, it can be found even in the most remote rural areas of the country side. If there is electricity you will find an Automatic Mahjong Table.
The Automatic Mahjong table was first introduced in Japan and the technology quickly spread throughout Asia. Today it is the preferred way to play Mahjong in Asia.
In the USA American Mahjong is played manually on a table. The Automatic Mahjong Table is slowly replacing the manual tables. As the technology catches on and Americans embrace technological advances, we will see an increase in the Automatic Mahjong Tables in the home, at clubs as well as in tournaments.
If the trend in Asian countries has been a shift from manual to Automatic Mahjong Tables, imagine what will happen in a country like the technology capital of the world the USA once the technology is embraced. Please note Automatic Mahjong Tables are very popular in the USA with the Asian players.
One of the reasons why the technology has advanced at a slow pace by the American Mahjong player is due to the sizes of the Automatic Mahjong Tiles. Since most of the Automatic Mahjong Tables are manufactured for the Asian Mahjong player the tiles size are very large.
We find the most common size in Asia is 40mm tiles. It is interesting how the birth place of Mahjong has made a tile transition from 28mm to 40mm as being the most common size. It is also important to note there are still cities in China that use smaller tiles as well as most players in Japan.
In the USA American Mahjong is played with 28mm tiles about half the size of the tiles used in many Asian countries. As American Mahjong Tiles become smaller (currently 36mm) we will see an increase in the Automatic Mahjong Tables used by the American Mahjong player.
As one examines the vintage sets of the 1920′s when Mahjong was first imported into the USA you will see the sizes of the tiles are of the 28mm size. This can be explained by the manufacturing trends in China during the 1920s as well as the cost for the export of the tiles. Smaller tiles less materials equal lower import cost. But what if Mahjong tiles were manufactured in a larger size during the 1920s what would be the popular size today? Is tile size so important today because of the way they were first introduced in the USA or is it tradition? Or is it a personal preference?
Is playing Mahjong a traditional experience played as it was once played in the royal courts of China or is it a game that has evolved into many personal preferences like that of today which includes the following styles (Chinese, Japanese, American, Singapore, Vietnamese, etc.) not to mention that each home town has it’s own rules and preferences.
Does tile size really matter? Or is playing the game more important?