Gyms and PokéStops found near sites including monument to children who died in the atomic blast and from related sickness.
Earlier in the week, we heard that Nagasaki’s Peace Park, dedicated to the victims of the atomic bomb attack in World War II, had asked that the site be removed from active locations in mobile game Pokémon GO. Now, Hiroshima, the only other city to be the target of an atomic bombing, has made a similar request.
Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park is situated in the downtown area of the city, on a stretch of land between the Otagawa and Motoyasugawa Rivers. Numerous monuments dot the park, which was also ground zero for the detonation of the bomb that instantly killed thousands. While its present-day proximity to leisure centers such as the Hondori Street entertainment district and Sogo department store means that not everyone in and around the park is necessarily there to reflect on the tragic events of World War II, Peace Memorial Park’s undeniable historical significance means administrators have taken issue with the roughly 10 PokéStops and Gyms that can now be found on its grounds.
Particularly questionable are Pokémon GO facilities that appear near the Cenotaph for A-bomb Victims and the Children’s Peace Monument, the latter of which is heavily associated with Sadoko Sasaki. A resident of Hiroshima Prefecture, Sasaki was two years old when the bomb was dropped, and passed away from leukemia at the age of 12. To this day, schoolchildren fold thousands of paper cranes and offer them in remembrance to Sasaki at the monument.
This isn’t the first time that an augmented reality game from Pokémon GO developer Niantic has been playable in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The company’s previous hit, Ingress, also made use of the location, with the game area being shaped like a paper crane. Pokémon GO, however, has no such in-game connection to the park’s greater message, and the new title’s far greater number of players has been cited by officials as a reason why they would like the PokéStops and gyms removed, even though no formal complaint was lodged regarding the use of the grounds in Ingress.
As such, the Hiroshima municipal government has officially requested that Niantic remove the Pokémon GO facilities from the park by August 6, the 71st anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.