Pocket Monsters TV Cartoon Show
Causes Hundreds of Seizures in Japan
16 December 1997 Episode

The December 16th 1997 episode of Pocket Monsters on TV Tokyo (Channel 12) created massive hysteria as hundreds of Japanese children suffered seizures while watching a 5 second long bright flashing light segment of the show. Nintendo stock was frozen on the Tokyo stock exchange after dropping about 500 yen when the stock opened Dec 17th.

Additional children were stricken while watching the TV news reports of the incident. TV stations showed the 5 second flashing segment thought to be reponsible for the problem with their news coverage. Another batch of children (those watching the news ) were then struck. (maybe that wasn't such a good idea???)

Quick Background on Pocket Monsters

Pocket Monsters are an incredibly popular Nintendo Game Boy game in Japan. The game is to acquire monsters and develop them by linking to other Pocket Monsters. It was one of the first "linking" games and a predecessor of keychain virtual pets. Now, Nintendo has announced several new versions that are more "evolutionary or tamagotchi like" and their intentions to market the game in the U.S. in 1998. The game is now directly entering the virtual pet category. The high popularity of the game has brought about a number of accessories and this tv show.

This incident absolutely DOES NOT indicate any health hazards from the use of key chain virtual pets or other virtual pets. But I did think our readers would find it quite interesting.

News Coverage of Pocket Monster TV Induced Seizures


Several of these news items are from two excellent, English language Japanese news sources. We suggest you visit their web sites for addtional coverage of the Pocket Monster Incident.

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