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|Alma mater||Tohoku University|
|Known for||Portaying Dr. Kawashima in the Brain Age series of video games|
Kawashima was born May 23, 1959 in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. In the 1970s, he enrolled in Tohoku University. After graduating with an M.D. at the school of medicine, he emigrated to Sweden to become a guest researcher at the Karolinska Institutet. He moved back to Tohoku and is now a resident Professor with tenure. He is famous in Japan and is a former member of Japan's National Council, concerning Language and Culture.
One of his primary research topics is mapping the regions of the brain to faculties such as emotion, language, memorization, and cognition. Kawashima is trained in neurophysiology and is an expert on brain imaging. His other primary topic involves applying this information to aid children to develop, aging people to retain, and patients to recover their learning facilities. As mentioned earlier, he is the host of the famous Brain Training game series. He received a lot of attention from the media when he refused a 15 million euro salary (about 21 million dollars) from the game company. According to Kawashima, one should only get this amount of money when one has worked for it. He finally accepted a salary of 70000 euros a year; the rest of the money he would use to fund his research.
Publications and releases
In 2001, Ryuta Kawashima conducted a study at Tohoku University in Japan, claiming that frontal lobes are not stimulated during video game playing sessions. However scientists widely dismissed his study after he claimed that the lack of stimulation could potentially stunt brain development and negatively affect people's ability to control their behaviour. Kawashima found no direct evidence for permanent brain damage.
In 2003, Kawashima authored Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain, which was a great success in Japan. When released worldwide, it sold more than 2.5 million copies. A handheld stand-alone unit, Brain Trainer, was later developed, and became Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! for the Nintendo DS, released in May 2005. A sequel, Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day! was released in December 2005. He later participated in the development of two more games for the Nintendo DSi's DSiWare service, both of which taking some puzzles from the previous Brain Age titles while featuring new puzzles as well. Rather than accept them for himself, he has used the royalties from the game (estimated in 2.4 billion yen) to build two laboratories.
In 2007, an English-language version of Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain was published by Penguin Books. It was followed by a sequel, Train Your Brain More: 60 Days to an Even Better Brain, published in 2008.
In 2012, a third game in the Brain Age series, Brain Age: Concentration Training was released for Nintendo 3DS.
In 2014, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U was released and included a summoneable "Assist Trophy" based on Dr. Kawashima's appearances in the Brain Age series. He reappears in 2018's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
On December 21, 2016, a Super Mario Maker Event Course titled "Dr Kawashima's Athletic Training" was released, along with a Mystery Mushroom costume of Dr. Kawashima, unlocked by completing the Event Course.
- Touch! Generations Profile Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
- Kawashima, Ryuta. "Functional Brain Imaging, New Industry Hatchery Center". Tohoku University School of Medicine. Archived from the original on 2008-01-03. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- "Video game 'brain damage' claim criticised". New Scientist. 2002-07-11. Retrieved 2008-09-30.