There are two theories about the birthplace of Mahjong: Ningbo and Fujian and Guangdong. Shen Yifan (1914) pointed out that “the beginning of the sparrow began in Ningbo. In just over thirty years, it spread to Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and gradually reached Beijing.” He advocated the Ningbo theory
Xu Ke’s “Qingbaileichao” (1916) says in one place that “it started in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, and then spread like wildfire, and then spread all over the north and south.” Another place says that “the Guangdong invaders started an uprising, and the army used it for gambling”…after a short period of time, it flowed into Ningbo and soon became popular”
The content is inconsistent. Du Yaquan’s “Bo Shi” (1933, p.35) believes that Mahjong “first became popular in the coastal areas of Fujian and Guangdong and among sea ships. In the early years of Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty, it extended from Ningbo Jiangxia to Tianjin and Shanghai merchant ports.”
That is to say, he advocates the Fujian-Guangdong theory, and Yang Yinshen’s “Research on Chinese Entertainment” (1946, p.99) agrees with his statement. Dai Yuzhen’s (1934) “Old News from Gushui” stated that mahjong was brought there by Sheng Xuanhuai from Baiyue when he was in charge of Tianjin Customs. He seems to also advocate the theory of Fujian and Guangdong
Pan Jun (1937) recorded a story passed down from generation to generation: In the Jiangdong area of ​​Ningbo in the late Ming Dynasty, Wang Weng made 136 bamboo cards, which were used by later generations for gambling. Xie Biao (1939) stated that “over the past three hundred years, the forty-card playing cards gradually evolved into five-card playing cards
In the past seventy or eighty years, it has become four mahjong tiles.” Joseph Babcock (1920, p.110), the author of the first English mahjong score in history, believes that “Mahjong may have originated from Ningbo, although some people have pointed out that Fujian is the place of origin. “
The famous American anthropologist and game researcher Stewart Kline (1895a, p.140) did not discuss the origin of Mahjong, but he quoted another famous game collector, Sir Wu Jinshun, as
It is said that the Mahjong game at that time (called “Chung fát” in the book) was limited to Jiangsu and Zhejiang, so its description is more consistent with the Ningbo origin theory.
However, Jiluofu Mahjong tiles originated from Fuzhou, and the recorded time is earlier than any other mahjong tiles, so it is more consistent with the theory of Fujian and Guangdong origins. To this day, the actual birthplace of Mahjong is still unclear

As for the birthplace of Mahjong, generally (such as most of the above-mentioned authors) agree that it is Ningbo. Ningbo (Mingzhou) was an important port for trade with Japan in ancient times
The Ningbo dialect “Mahjong” and “Mahjong” have the same pronunciation, and Japan retains “Mahjong” as a written name, but the pronunciation is “Mājan” (Roman: mājan), which shows the influence of Ningbo

The formation of Mahjong can be described from three aspects: game name, cards and gameplay. Its name and cards are recognized to be derived from the ancient “Ma Diao” playing card, but in terms of gameplay, Ma Diao is a game similar to the modern “Da Tian Jiu” in which big players hit small ones, and it is by no means like mahjong to quickly form combinations.
It would be a fallacy and easily confusing to say that the gameplay of mahjong originated from horse-drawing. For example, in Hong Kong, influenced by TVB’s costume dramas, the saying “Mahjong was called Ma Diao in ancient times” is very popular, so much so that people mistakenly believe that the ancient Ma Diao is played in much the same way as modern Mahjong.
There are also newspapers in mainland China that mistakenly refer to the “Ma Diao Jing” written by Song Dynasty scholar Yang Danian as the “Mahjong Sutra”, thinking that the game of Mahjong existed at that time

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Mahjong was banned by the government in accordance with the law because it was regarded as a gambling game and a “symbol of capitalist corruption”
It gradually recovered after the Cultural Revolution. In 1985, mainland China officially abolished the ban on playing mahjong In July 1998, the State Sports General Administration of China formulated the national standard mahjong gameplay