A Texas company that makes brightly colored mahjong tiles is apologizing after critics called its new look of the popular Chinese game culturally insensitive.
For instance, the Chiaki line replaces traditional Chinese symbols with bubbles, lightning bolts and has tiles decorated with maida bags and whoopie cushions.
The language of the design and website did not sit well with many people on social media, who said that the removal of Chinese characters erased the game’s cultural significance.
The company posted an apology and updated the language a lot on its website on Wednesday and removed a photo of the three women who founded the company from their page. The company has not stopped selling any of its games.
“It is imperative that our followers know that we have never set out to ignore or misrepresent the origins of the sport and know that more dialogue and steps need to be taken to learn and grow. We are always open to constructive criticism and are continuing to conduct. Conversations with those who can provide more insight to the traditions and roots of the game in both Chinese and American cultures. “
Why the company decided to ‘refresh’ the tiles
Lee, who worked for an affordable housing developer in San Francisco’s Chinatown, told CNN that he was affected by the changes.
“It’s a product with hundreds of years of tradition and culture and every piece has a meaning, and it’s just a complete disregard for any of that,” he said.
Lee said that his mother taught him how to play mahjong when he was a child.
He said, “Whenever my family is united, we take out the tiles and play.” “This is one way I keep in touch with my culture.”
“I am not disappointed in the atrocities you committed. Sorry, was my trend too boring for you and not a trend?” She wrote.
He told CNN that he did not need to insult traditional sports to justify his design.
“They said, you know, ‘We’re making it based on the fact that we were bored with previous designs, we didn’t feel like they knew you, quite exciting or fresh.” “Which completely negates the fact that the original design since 1800 has, honestly, been some variant (game) of the game.”
GE thought the company’s apology was somewhat weak and said that he hoped to listen to the criticism and give a meaningful role to Asians in their leadership team.
The mahjong line continues to sell all its sets on its website.
“We stand with our products and are proud to be one of many different companies offering a wide range of tiles and accessories for the game of American Mahjong,” Lagere said in a statement. “That being said, we take full responsibility that in our quest to introduce new tiles, we involuntarily rejoin an experience that has been erased by many Asian Americans and is working to rectify this mistake.” “