Gamification begins to become the topic recently in Japan. However, I think that the Japanese utilizes it from old days. They do not only know the word "Gamification."
The person who utilized Gamification first in Japan of which I think is Nobutame Heizo Hasegawa(長谷川平蔵宣以). He is the samurai who lived from 1745 to 1795. He was the head of police organization called "Hitsuke Touzoku Aratamekata". They were the police organizations of the atrocious crime speciality. Because Edo era of Japan was peace, samurais rarely fought with a sword(Katana) in fact. However, only the duty of "Hitsuke Touzoku Aratamekata(火付盗賊改方)" was very dangerous. If it compares to the present age, they resemble SWAT. Hasegawa was a very able person, so, many brutal criminals were arrested. Citizens of Edo called him "OniHei(鬼平)" with awe and respect("Oni" means a demon or ogre in Japanese. However, it is used as not only a negative meaning but also a meaning to strength).
Hasegawa had another face. It is drafting and administration of the rehabilitation facilities of the misdemeanants. He not only arrested brutal criminals, but considered the petty criminal's rehabilitation. And he thought the cause of the crime to be poverty and unemployment. Therefore he established an institution called "Ninsokuyoseba(人足寄場)". The Japanese jails of the Edo era were the places which shut up the offender. However, Ninsokuyoseba was a place which teaches offenders various work. The kinds of works are carpenter, making a bucket, straw mat knitting, basket knitting, sewing, making a recycling paper, cloth texture, etc.... The product produced by these work was sold and was assigned to independence support gold of the criminal. Surprisingly these systems are almost the same as the system of the prison in present-day Japan. In addition, the Ninsokuyoseba products were popular among the people because these had good quality and cheap price(This is the same as the present-day, too).
However, it was difficult to keep motivation to their works because originally they are criminals. Therefore Hasegawa added an idea to their uniform. He dressed them the polka-dot kimono(Polka-dot for criminals? You may think it so funny:) However, the polka dots were general designs in old Japan. There was the samurai who wore the surcoat of polka dots in medieval Ages). At first, they wear the polka-dot kimono in which many dots were printed. However, whenever the skill of their work improved, it was changed to the few dots kimono. They came to gradually make an effort for a few dots kimono. And they came to compete with a friend for the fewer dots. When a dot disappears from a kimono and wears a plain kimono, it is their "graduation".
It is the visualization of "efforts" and "action" which Hasegawa practiced. I think that this is essence of Gamification. In life, neither efforts nor action becomes fruitful in many cases. However, in a game, action and efforts are always visualized. Get experience level, get virtual goods, get virtual currency, improvement, ranking etc... Gamification is to apply them to the real world. If one's effort is visualized, any person becomes glad. Of course the word "Gamification" did not exist in the Edo era. However, Hasegawa might have the idea of this.
By the way, Hasegawa is a popular person in the present age. There are a period novel, comics, TV drama and movie that featured the theme of him "OniHei Hankacho(鬼平犯科帳)".
Polka dots kimonos are drawn in the comics version of OniHei Hankacho.