Pokemon Go has arguably become one of the most popular mobile phone games of all time. This has been especially true in the last year, as players have ventured far and wide across the land to catch 'em all. While they might not have caught them yet, Pokemon Go players have done a lot of good along the way.
Stories have cropped up over time of various good deeds done by Pokemon Go players. In one story from last year, a group of strangers played with one teen who was previously bullied. There's news talking about Pokemon Go players who started cleaning up litter thanks to the game. There are even parents of autistic children who are speaking out about the wondrous effects Pokemon Go has had on their offspring.
Most recently, another article reached our peepers that talked about a place in Japan that was once a sad and lonely affair. Tojinbo is a set of cliffs overlooking the Sea of Japan. It was named after a monk who supposedly fell to his death here. In more recent years, the tourist spot in the Fukui Prefecture of Japan has consistently been used for suicides.
Yukio Shige, a local police officer in the area, has been on a mission for years to lower the suicide rate at Tojinbo. He's constantly patrolled the area in hopes of lowering it. By being a consistent presence on the site, Yukio has helped prevent suicides, but the numbers are still high. Thus far in 2017 there have been 0 deaths at Tojinbo, and March is normally considered a very high number month for deaths there.
Many believe that Pokemon Go is a big reason for this comparably huge drop in suicide rates at Tojinbo. Apparently ultra-rare Pokemon are everywhere there, which has attracted a much larger than usual crowd at the site. Yukio plans to continue patrolling the site, but the crowds that are drawn to the once dour location are definitely brightening it up.
“Honor suicide” has been a cultural element in Japan all the way back to the era of samurai. Most people in the world recognize the terms seppuku or harakiri, which were a form of Japanese ritual suicide committed by samurai. In more recent millennia, suicide was considered an honorable way to die if you had some great shame that you felt the need to atone for. This cultural outlook on suicide is very different from many other places in the world. Most cultures consider it the opposite of honorable.
Strides are being made to change this cultural norm in Japan in modern times, but the suicide rates are still fairly high for an modernized country. Yet, there is a light at the end of the tunnel thanks to games like Pokemon Go. The drop in suicide rates at Tojinbo is a very small sample size, and there are other variables to consider. Yukio's extra patrols for one. This may have had all the impact that was needed in Tojinbo. The fact of the matter still remains though. For the first three months of 2017, there were no suicides in the area.
At the very least, the presence of more Pokemon Go players is like adding dozens more Yukios. There are more people around, so those there for fatal reasons have a greater chance of being interrupted. There's also the fact that Pokemon Go changes the world into a fantastic place filled with magical creatures. What is there to be sad about when Pikachus are running around, right? The swarms of people in Tojinbo that are there to have fun and play a video game with their friends have changed the once sad place into a happy one.
It's amazing that cases like these exist. A simple mobile phone game is literally saving lives. With the insane popularity of Pokemon Go, it's not far fetched to say that the future will bring even more games like it. The world is already a better place for millions of players thanks to Pokemon Go, and thanks to these players and their actions out in the real world, things are much brighter for those around them.
What do you think of this fantastic news that Pokemon Go has saved a once fatal spot in Japan. What are some other games that you know of that have literally saved lives? Do you know of any upcoming games that you have hopes will do the same in the future? Let us know!