Dislike Chinese mahjong as boring or ugly, Americans invented”white mahjong”?
[Article/Observer Network Ruan Jiaqi]
In the past two days, overseas Chinese have blown up their hair because of this”Mahjong” with four different images.
This is a”white mahjong” redesigned by a company in the United States. The cards and the rules of the game have been changed. It is said to be more in line with”the aesthetics and habits of the new generation of Americans.” A cheap set can cost more than US$300.
Several sets of mahjong designs are almost completely”de-neutralized”, and there is no trace of Chinese elements. This move was fiercely condemned by Chinese netizens, who denounced this as an extreme disrespect for Chinese culture and blatant”Cultural Appropriation”.
“A textbook case of cultural appropriation”
“Mahjong originated in China and belongs to the world.” This is a sentence summarized by the famous Chinese scholar Yu Guangyuan.
As early as the 1920s, Chinese mahjong has been introduced to the United States, because it kills time and enhances feelings. Advantages are popular in the United States. According to incomplete statistics, there are about 500,000 people aged 20 to 30 in the United States participating in this activity, and most of them are women.
Different from Chinese mahjong’s inherent”push”,”kong” and”eat” play styles, American mahjong has 8 more ghost cards”Joker” (equivalent to wild cards in some regions of my country), and Extra rules.
The American Mahjong Association publishes a table of cards every year, listing new mahjong combinations that can score and win cards to keep it interesting. When playing cards, stick the game table on the table and win the game according to the above rules.
Picture from Xinhuanet
In the process of learning mahjong, they will also learn that some of the suits on the cards come from Chinese currency, and some come from Chinese landscapes or Excerpts from Peking Opera.
In short, making many Americans fall in love with playing mahjong can be said to be a successful export of Chinese culture.
The picture is from China Daily
However, for some players who do not understand Chinese characters, it is not easy to understand the cards, so some mahjongs retain the Chinese characters on the premise, Mark numbers in the corners to help identify.
But recently, a mahjong brand called”The Mahjong Line” did a”smart operation”-she directly changed the entire deck and erased all Chinese elements.
According to US media reports, this brand was created by 3 white women from Dallas in Texas, USA. Established in November 2015.
Founder Kate Lager said that he learned to play Mahjong for the first time in 2018. Although she likes it very much, she feels that Chinese Mahjong is unfashionable and incomprehensible, unable to match her style and personality. It is also very boring and urgently needs”renovation”.
So they redesigned 5 sets of”white mahjong”, avoiding the appearance of traditional mahjong tiles, and replaced them with Western images and Arabic numerals, claiming that”the mahjong is better after removing unnecessary text and patterns. Suitable for the new generation of Americans”.
This set of mahjong has two options of US$325 and US$425. The brand also sells various accessories, such as table mats priced at $50.
Play well in marketing, and each style also corresponds to different types of girls. For example, this Mahjong with bubbles, flour cans and lightning is described in the introduction as specifically designed for”laughing girls”.
The gimmick is not small, but it is obvious that this mahjong has nothing to do with China.
If you don’t read the introduction, you can’t tell from the official promo that this is Mahjong at all.
The brand’s condescending tone when referring to the original Chinese version of Mahjong in its introduction, and the suggestion of the superiority of the so-called”white mahjong” after the”renovation” has aroused intense condemnation from a large number of Chinese netizens.
The brand Twitter received thousands of comments and was accused of disrespect for Chinese culture , Is blatant”cultural appropriation.”
“My culture is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It is the product of thousands of years of tradition and history. It is not the kind of cheap coloring book that can be’beautiful’.”< /p>
Grace Meng, vice chairman of the US Congress Asia Pacific Caucus (CAPAC) and Congressman, also said:”Please put Chinese characters back into the Chinese game. Don’t change my history and culture to cater to you.”
Others pointed out that this company is essentially using Chinese culture to make money, but it still wants to belittle the prototype, and also named it “we are rethinking what mahjong is like”.
“White new styles are fashionable and luxurious. Chinese originals lack individuality. Brands have always belittled others to promote themselves.”
“3 white ladies who did not respect Chinese culture did it A set of US$325 mahjong. I’m so sorry, the traditional pattern is not “fun” or “fashionable”? Then change to another game!”
The Chinese artist Christina C. Young in New York bluntly said the reason for people’s anger It is not about”American whites playing mahjong”, but the brand claims that traditional mahjong needs to be”renovated” to be worth playing.
“They criticized traditional mahjong for being’confusing, single-color, and indistinguishable’, and then they designed a version that is 10 times more difficult to identify than the original.”
After the strong protest from Chinese netizens, on the 5th local time, the company deleted all white Mahjong party photos on Instagram, closed the comment area, and the founder’s photo on the official website was also removed.
White Mahjong Gathering
At the same time, the company also issued a statement, apologizing for failing to express due respect to the Chinese tradition of Mahjong,”using the’renovation’ like this The words hurt many people, and we are deeply sorry.”
The statement also stated that they never intended to ignore or distort the origin of the game, and they have always been open to constructive criticism. And will continue to have exchanges and dialogues with people who understand the mahjong tradition and the roots of Chinese and American culture.
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