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Brain training namesake hasn't profited from success

Despite the fact that 17 million brain training titles have been sold worldwide since the series debuted in 2005, Dr. Ryuta Kawashima hasn't made a single yen from the game

Despite the fact that 17 million brain training titles have been sold worldwide since the series debuted in 2005, Dr. Ryuta Kawashima hasn't made a single yen from the game.

According to an AFP report, Kawashima was entitled to claim up to half of the royalties on the game for himself - an estimated JPN 2.4 billion (USD 22 million) - but chose not to accept them.

"Everyone in my family is mad at me but I tell them that if they want money, go out and earn it," Kawashima said.

His DS brain training games are currently at the top of the charts in Germany and Spain, with the first game selling 500,000 copies within the first nine weeks of its European launch.

Kawashima is a self-confessed workaholic who says that he has no time for games, keeping himself busy at Tohoku University trying to come up with inventions aimed at Japan's elderly population.

He has used his portion of the royalties to build new laboratories at the university's Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer where he works. While he hasn't personally accepted a single yen from his brain training videogames, he said that other researchers have the right to earn money from their work.

Kawashima is currently in the fourth year of an education ministry-funded project looking at youngsters' brain development, and says he does not yet know how children's minds are affected by long hours playing videogames.

"What is scary about games is that you can kill as many hours as you want. I don't think playing games is bad in itself but it makes children unable to do what they should do such as study and communication with the family," he said.

Kawashima believes in strict discipline and does not see the need to make studying "fun."

"Having fun is not studying," he said. "Making them study is not to entertain children but to pressure them to make efforts.

"People fall to lower and lower places unless they are driven to go higher."

Kawashima admits that he no longer uses his own software to keep his own brain nimble, confident that his research work is enough. Even so, at age 48, he is convinced that he'll become senile as he grows older.

"Researchers, especially those in medical fields, are said to die of what they are studying. Since I've been studying the brain, I'll die of a brain disease," he said with a grin.

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