Cultural appropriation is always a topic of incendiary conflict, as appreciation ends when disrespect and cultural superiority begins. A core feature of disrespect is not preserving the traditions and context of Asian culture, White-washing its narrative and cultural significance.
However it is difficult to draw the line in appropriation as games, dresses, and cuisines have fused with each other over the years. Mahjong in this case, has evolved throughout Jewish communities, and its introduction to Americas was already a deviant from its traditional form. Furthermore, no one actually owns the game.
The entrepreneurs creating the game concluded that before re-inventing or making a culturally inspired product, it should be consulted with experts in said culture, research, and authentic portrayal before engagement.
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