hist-games: Kipling and Mah-jongg game

Adrian Seville A.H.Seville at city.ac.uk
Mon Jun 19 02:32:06 PDT 2000

Subject:        	Fw: Kipling and Mah-jongg game (fwd)

Can anyone on hist-games help here?

Adrian Seville

Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 07:10:57 +0100
From: John Radcliffe <john at fastmedia.demon.co.uk>
To: Kipling Mailbase <rudyard-kipling at mailbase.ac.uk>
Subject: Fw: Kipling and Mah-jongg game

Can anyone shed any light on the question raised by Professor Ebashi ?

Good wishes to all, John R

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Takashi EBASHI 
To: john at fastmedia.demon.co.uk 
Sent: Saturday, June 17, 2000 12:13 AM
Subject: Kipling and Mah-jongg game

Dear Secretary,

As this is the first e-mail for me to send you, I should introduce myself
first. Last year, they established a new museum about the history of
Mah-jongg game, and I am an adviser of it. 

In Japan we can trace back the history of Mah-jong game to 1910. However,
in the page 103(108?) of "Vanity Fair" December 1923, we can find out a
very interesting advertisement of "Ma Jung (=Mah-jongg)" sets by
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. They said they were selling Mah-jongg sets "in use
at the Rokumeikan, in Tokyo, where Kipling first learned of the game,
thirty years ago, on his road to Mandalay." As you know, and as Cortazzi &
Webb's "Kipling's Japan" researched already, Kipling and his wife came to
Japan in 1889 and 1892. If the advertisement told the truth, it means that
we can trace back the history 20 years earlier than before and we can
mention him as the first witness of Mah-jongg game in Japan. We need to
know whether it is true or not.

Can I ask for your help to our research?

(1)Do you have any information on it?

(2)Do you know where should we go to make research? We think the Kipling
Paper of the Sussex University Library , especially his wife's diary is
the first item to check through. Is it correct? Do you know with whom in
the library we should contact first?

(3)Next weekend I am going to London and I will be free on 26th(Monday). I
wish to take this opportunity to visit the library and your society. Is it
possible for me? Can I have a chance to meet with you?

In Japan, there have been many historians of the Rokumeikan, but no one
could have found out this interesting  fact. We guess the reason of this
failure to the name of this game. They called this game as "Mah-jongg"
since 1920s, and we don't know what Kipling called it in 1892. Chinese
Domino?  Domino Game?  Game of Tiles? Tile games of China? Any way, we 
not expect to find out the word Mah-jongg in Kipling documents. This might
be the reason why so many historians could not find out Kipling's hobby of
Mah-jongg game.

I am waiting your quick reply, as I leave Tokyo on 23rd (Friday) night.
E-mail is O.K., and fax is better for me.

Best Regards

Takashi EBASHI
Professor of Hosei University, Tokyo.
Home Address: Kawasaki-shi Asao-ku Hakusan 5-1-7-203
Telephone: (81)-44-989-0059
Telefax: (81)-44-989-8929
e-mail: fwpc1503 at nifty.com

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