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: Boris Ivanov 2:5020/779.90 18 97 06:26
: All 19 97 15:11
: py Pocket Monsters...

Hello All!
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               -== ut of POCKET.TXT ==-
Network Cancels Japanese Cartoon
By Braven Smillie
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, December 17, 1997; 3:26 p.m. EST
TOKYO (AP) -- A TV network canceled broadcasts of a popular action-packed
cartoon show Wednesday and a rental chain yanked video versions from its
shelves because of brilliantly flashing scenes blamed for causing
convulsions, spasms or nausea in hundreds of children.
Nearly 600 children were rushed to hospitals Tuesday night after watching
the program ``Pokemon. By Wednesday evening, the number of afflicted
children climbed to more than 700 after others watched videotaped versions
of the show.
The case had many wondering: Is Japanese animation just too intense for
``Kids don t watch this program the way most people watch TV, said
Toshio Okada, a writer specializing in animation and comic books. ``You
can t take your eyes off it without missing crucial visual clues about the
meaning of the action.
Japanese cartoons over the past eight years have developed unforgiving
packages of fast-paced action that require intense concentration to be
understood, Okada said. And children watch it all on increasingly large TV
screens from less than a yard away -- typical viewing style in Japan s
cramped homes.
``I was shocked to see my daughter lose consciousness, Yukiko Iwasaki
was quoted as saying by the national newspaper Yomiuri. ``She started to
breathe only when I hit her on the back.
TV Tokyo canceled the airing of ``Pokemon -- which means ``pocket
monsters -- on 30 stations around Japan on Wednesday.
National broadcaster NHK said 729 people had been taken to hospitals by
late Wednesday; about 200 remained hospitalized.
The first victims had been watching the program separately at homes all
over Japan, and doctors and psychologists discussing the illnesses on
national television did not suggest contagious mass hysteria.
The second wave of seizures among children watching videotapes led a
video rental chain to pull the series from its 940 stores. Dr. Philip
Sheridan, chief of the epilepsy branch of the National Institute of
Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md., said the children s
reactions could have two quite different causes.
Some children may have started to hyperventilate from the excitement and
the flashing lights, he said. That can cause dizziness, nausea and
fainting. This kind of problem often spreads in groups of children as they
see each other having trouble, Sheridan said. In other children, the
flashing lights might have acted directly on the brain to cause seizures,
he said. An affected child would momentarily stare and not respond even to
shouting, or have a stiffening of the body with jerking arms and legs for
up to a minute. That would happen if the flashing disrupted the natural
pacemakers that regulate patterns of activity in the brain s circuits, he
Such brief seizures do not damage the brain and do not mean a child has
epilepsy, Sheridan stressed. Epilepsy is repeated seizures without
provocation, rather than a reaction to something like flashing lights or a
high fever, he said.
The illness has been linked to a scene featuring a vividly colored
explosion mixed with a few seconds of rhythmic strobe-like light flashing
bursts of blue, red and white, each about one-thirtieth of a second long.
That type of mind-bending scene is no rarity in Japanese cartoons.
Program producer Takemoto Mori said similar visual effects are featured
widely in other animation and frequently in ``Pokemon. ``During editing,
that particular portion didn t call my attention or bother me, Mori said.
``I m really sorry that the kids got sick watching their favorite
``Pokemon has been broadcast on 37 TV stations nationwide since April
and has the highest ratings in the Tokyo area for its 6:30 p.m. slot. The
weekly show is based on characters in a game produced by Nintendo Co.
Several years ago, a handful of teen-agers suffered seizures while
playing video games sold by Nintendo Co. The company now attaches a
warning that epilepsy-like symptoms can be triggered by the games. Kyoichi
Sato, a spokesman for the Post and Telecommunications Ministry, which
oversees TV and radio broadcasting, said officials are still investigating
the case, but it could lead to new programming guidelines.
(C) Copyright 1997 The Associated Press
               -== End of POCKET.TXT ==-

: Boris Ivanov 2:5020/779.90 18 97 06:32
: Mikhail Ramendik 19 97 15:11
: Re: , ...

Hello Mikhail!
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