Pokemon Go monsters not welcome at Hiroshima

Japanese city calls for virtual animals to be removed in respect for victims of atomic bomb attacks

(Image credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

Hiroshima has asked the makers of Pokemon Go to remove its monsters from the city's memorials to the victims of the atomic bomb attacks of 1945.

The smartphone game has enjoyed runaway success since it was released by makers Niantic earlier this month. Players collect virtual monsters sprinkled all over the world, with programmers using GPS to detect where gamers are and making the "Pokemon" appear in nearby parks, churches and town halls.

However, according to the BBC, there is a Pokemon "gym" at Hiroshima's world-famous Atomic Bomb Dome. The ruin was one of the few buildings left semi-intact after the US bombing on 6 August 1945, which killed between 70,000 and 146,000 civilians.

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A memorial ceremony is held at the site each year on the anniversary of the attack - and the city wants the Pokemon removed by then.

Hiroshima is not the only place considered an inappropriate venue for hunting imaginary Pokemons. Other questionable locations include:

  • the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, where visitors have been asked not to play the game during their tour;
  • Bosnia, where a charity warned players to avoid the minefields, for obvious reasons, The Guardian said;
  • Fukushima nuclear plant, which asked Niantic not to place Pokemon in its highly-radioactive facility, the BBC said;
  • the 9/11 memorial in New York, where Fortune magazine reported two "PokeStops" - locations players can use to gain extra powers - were removed;
  • and the Cenotaph in Whitehall, causing the Daily Mail to ask: "Is nothing sacred?"

US-based Niantic, which licensed the Pokemon characters for use from owner Nintendo, considers requests for exclusions, says the BBC, but has not commented on the situation in Hiroshima.

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