The Challenges of Bringing a Therapeutic Game to Japan

From Sparx

Last week, the Disrupting Japan podcast hosted Ayako Shimizu, the founder of Hikari Labs. The podcast features entrepreneurs taking on unusual challenges in the world of Japanese startups, and Ayako’s business certainly fits the bill: she’s attempting to bring a University of Auckland-developed therapeutic game to a country with a significant amount of stigma surrounding mental illness.

Have a listen:

The game she’s marketing is SPARX, a game designed to teach young people the techniques associated with cognitive behavioral therapy.

Here’s an overview:

Ayako has found that while the game was designed with New Zealand high schoolers in mind, the audience she’s reaching in Japan is men in their 30s and 40s. She and host Tim Romero discuss the challenges of that transition and the opposition she’s faced in the process.

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