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POKEMON GO Therapy for social anxiety using Pokestops in Japan?

The Pokemon Go game design and psychology vlog: Episode 4
This episode, Dr Huu Kim Le from cgiclinic.com is in Tokyo Japan home of Nintendo’s pocket monsters also known as Pokemon in the west.

Hikikomori a Japanese syndrome

The Hikikomori syndrome is defined as complete withdrawal from society for 6months or longer.

We hypothesise that the Pokemon Go release in Japan may lead to a reduction in Hikikomori.

Pokemon Go Therapy?

The Pokemon Go game can potentially give these individuals a sense of purpose to
leave their rooms, their homes.

Also the social aspects may reduce the shame associated with Hikikomori.

Around the world, individuals are sharing their stories of how Pokemon go has allowed them to overcome their fear and anxiety, even depression. They are leaving their homes and going outside and walking in public places.


NOW is the perfect time to do a prospective study on the Pokemon Go release in Japan and Hikikomori!

Past examples of tech studies on mental health

We have seen this before, where research has shown that the introduction of technology has changed culture and mental health.


For example, the famous epidemiological study on the effect of television on islands in Fiji on female body image and eating disorders.

There are 700,000 individuals living as hikikomori with an average age of 31.


This is a perfect opportunity for Hikikomori researchers in Japan.

A research opportunity?

Once we have the data, we propose a new treatment for the socially anxious. A Pokemon go exposure therapy. We can do this by creating successive Pokemon stops from the patients house and gradually move the pokestop further and further away.


Combined with Social skills training and Cognitive restructuring, you have a new treatment for a modern day problem using new social technology and games.

Imagine if the Japanese health department could collaborate with Nintendo, Google and niantic to allow special permission to program such pokestop exposure therapy?

A message for John Hanke creator of Pokemon Go

John Hanke, we would love to work with you on future opportunities to change the world.

Dr Huu Kim Le level 13 trainer from Team Instinct and child psychiatrist from Australia.