national

Hiroshima unhappy atomic bomb park is Pokemon Go site

56 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

56 Comments
Login to comment

I actually agree with this. The manner with which some players of the game (sorry, lack of manners) show, proves that some places should be off limits.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

why be negative? use this to try and increase revenue for the museum. more people is more money, think positively

-18 ( +10 / -28 )

Niantic offers a form to request exclusions, but it’s neither automatic nor guaranteed.

If for no other reason than Niantic/Nintendo's own self interest, you would think the company would have excluded many selected sites before the game was even released — solemn sites like the atomic bomb memorial, areas that are off limits like nuclear power sites, and sites where being engrossed in a game would be highly dangerous like train station platforms.

Maybe this was utter lack of foresight on their part, maybe its because of an attitude that "even negative publicity is good publicity." Still, I could see hefty lawsuits coming their way due to this lack of due diligence on Niantic/Nintendo's part.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I agree, Sensato. Niantic was sloppy in using the map data from Ingress without any modifications. Looking at and marking interesting landmarks is quite different from Pokemon Go. A little bit of thought could have gone a long way.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Debucho - The park itself is free, and th museum is not out for "profit" making. Have you been there? It's a solemn reminder of the atrocities man have commited on each other. It is not meant to be a place of games and anime characters. Any player of this game that goes there will not stop to reflect upon the images and feelings that the park invokes, nor will they take time to actually walk through the museum. This is pure disrespect by the game maker and the players.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Lots of people have descended on churches and graveyards in the states.

Imagine going to visit your dear old departed mom or dad and finding a bunch of poke-geeks poking around.

part of me thinks the geeks at Niantic had some fun choosing exactly where to put all the poke stops.

I kind of hope somebody sues them and forces them to be more thoughtful.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Any player of this game that goes there will not stop to reflect upon the images and feelings that the park invokes, nor will they take time to actually walk through the museum.

I have to partly disagree with you. Those "visiting" Hiroshima, will reflect and will probably go to the museum. Those already living in the city, well, if they're over 20 and have never visited the park before, probably not. But I think the majority will take time to reflect, if they find themselves in the park looking for the colorful characters on their blue screens. Not agreeing with it, but I've seen lots of people use the Peace Park for reasons other than reflection. It turns into a huge party scene during Cherry Blossom time. It could turn off some foreign tourists though, which might be pushing this.

Definitely disable the area during the August 6th ceremonies.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Niantic really ought to be careful, I can smell some lawsuits coming their way real soon.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I am glad I grew up before the smart phone - and even desktop computers. While I love these technologies now, I look back on a childhood where summertime boredom resulted in miles-long bike rides, daylong wandering in the woods, and just wasting time with friends while we lamented our boredom yet actually DID STUFF that resulted in true formative experiences. (How hard can it be for the game makers to eliminate certain sites as possible places for the critters to pop up? The technology, or the people planning how to create it and how people will use it, are in large part to blame for this oversight.)

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I would be vexed, but on the other hand, I'd be a bit (a BIT) more liberal about understanding what the gamers got from it. Then, I'd be able to comment. Objectively. Sometimes, I think polite discourse disappeared from JT, years ago. I'm constantly reminded of that every time I return to Canada from Japan and find that JT, because I haven't visited the site while in the country, it no longer recognizes me without a simple password re-affirmation. *hit, we all forget that stuff, don't we??? Catch my drift, JT?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The game is absolutely huge. I am assuming it has mapped out most of Japan and other countries. I don't think they could take into consideration all of the spots that may not be good locations for the initial release.

As the story states, there is a way to have your site removed, and we don't know the result of this as of yet. The game has only been out in Japan for five or six days. Give them time to work out the kinks before we condemn them.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Niantic also placed pokemon in the holocaust museum

one has to wonder whether they're stupid or just extremely disrespectful.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Agree with the posters above -this is about common sense and respect. Places like Hiroshima Park, Auschwitz, Arlington etc as well as churches , graveyards should definately be off limits. Plenty of other places for the geek hordes to roam - exclusions of the above should be a given. Don`t know what the developers were thinking. ( or obviously they were not thinking ).

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The amount of time to remove all sensitive spots must be tough. I would assume the spots are all randomly generated.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Urusei

It a positive thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Torn on this. I see no problem with it in the park itself, so long as kids (and adults) are not doing anything untoward or illegal, but inside the museum absolutely not. Why would they be against people playing in a park? If I'm not mistaken, one of the most important symbols/statues in the park is of a little girl, Sadako, who was robbed off her youth and ability to run, play, and live her life. They'd better take that down, too, then.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I have conflicting feelings on this.

While it should be solemn places, I think it is also a nice contrast that sends the message that the horrors of war that took place there are a thing of the past, replaced by the youth enjoyment and their future perspectives. But on the other hand, I'm not sure about a future where people get completely focused on catching virtual things.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

With the money they are making, they can certainly afford to hire a couple of hundred temps to comb through the maps and remove sensitive/dangerous places. I expect this will start happening sooner rather than later. They should also be making incremental adjustments as they go....removing the gym from someone's porch and putting it in the park across the street, that sort of thing. They will be squandering a chance to create goodwill if they don't.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So.. the memorial wants less foot traffic? Surely this park should be free and open to all?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I get a lot of the arguments here. as I'd guess they used an automatically generated list of landmarks in the area, and they'd have to manually go in and tell it to exclude places from the list. I can also see the argument that isn't more traffic a good thing, and the argument about why in some places it isn't. I would agree that some areas while it's good that those places get more well known, if they aren't there for the right reasons it makes it more difficult for the people who are to use it for such. And those are the places that are wanting to be removed from the game. As for the memorial wanting less foot traffic they want to have less people who are just passing though, and more who are coming to learn or remember the event the memorial is for. But This app seems to be creating more who are just passing though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kingston Obike: "Niantic really ought to be careful, I can smell some lawsuits coming their way real soon."

For what? Niantic has done absolutely NOTHING wrong, and in fact have a disclaimer at the beginning of the game saying it is up to the player to be aware of their surroundings and that they should always be careful. A Pokemon character on the grounds of a nuclear site, around a train station, or in a park of all places does not constitute any kind of illegality. Any accidents that ensue on the part of the player is their fault alone.

As for Hiroshima, they seem to want to increase people visiting the park with the Obama speech and what not, and no doubt would LOVE the awareness it's getting from the game if only players didn't come to the place, but you can't demand a park be removed for children playing in it -- and near a statue of a girl playing, of all things! It kind of reminds me of when the nation asks for foreign visitors, but not gaijin.

Let the kids (and kids at heart) have fun so long as they are not damaging the property. And hell, they may just learn some things about the park as a result of visiting thanks to the game. Inside the museum I can understand.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Totally agree Smith.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The other day, dozens of people staring at their phones appeared near my house in an obscure corner of Shinjuku. Last night dozens more suddenly appeared a few hundred metres away, and just as suddenly disappeared. What was disturbing, despite the disclaimer, was the number of motorbikes that stopped there.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe it's time to cheer up the peace park a little bit.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Quite frankly... a bit of foresight could have prevented this. If I were to make this game... I would have a list of about 20 places in the world that I would not have in the game out of respect. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb sites are probably the first ones that would come to mind.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why does this surprise anyone ? MONEY is involved....NOTHING is sacred.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hiroshima unhappy atomic bomb park is Pokemon Go site

Absolutely. Fines should be levied on anyone caught playing Pokemon at the site. I've been there - it's a place for contemplation, not frivolity.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Over here in the UK there's also an A&E department in a hospital which has been found to be a 'training area' for these bloody things. A hospital? Now the atomic bomb park? What next? A cemetery? An elementary school classroom? A toilet?

Getting out of hand.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I see the pluses and minuses, well more possible minuses.

More people will visit the park (maybe), find a plaque or a monument and learn something.

Or they may walk by grab some pokeballs and bounce.

Worse case, are the little jerks who will stay at a gym, leaving trash and cigarette butts.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Niantic declined to comment, saying it would not make public any discussions with a third party." this is BAD PR! what they should have said is Whoops sorry, we will sort this out this ASAP we will remove any XXX from the park in or around the Aug the 6th, but with consultation we might return poke stops at a latter date.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should just put up signs banning players and maybe use the money from the extra footfall to have a couple of security guards wondering around. The rush will die down soon anyway, geez the game's not been out a week yet.

@MsDelicious No the spots aren't randomly generated, they were plotted by players all over the world of the company that makes Pokemon Go's other game, Ingress.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Anything that gets kids out and about in traffic-free open spaces, doing something motivating and physically active, with their friends and family, has to be good, surely. And to do that in places like Hiroshima Peace Park is an added bonus: to learn about history and culture, to learn to respect for those who suffered, and to learn manners and consideration for other visitors who wish to find peace there. All good, ne?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I am of mixed feelings here. Yes, going to memorial sites to play pokemon is stupid, but is the company really responsible for the stupidity of the game users?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Going to a place where tens of thousands of people were incinerated in the blink of an eye and playing Pokemon is not only stupid but disrespectful. People to go there to look for Pokemon are hardly going to pause to contemplate the suffering caused by this cataclysmic event.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For what? Niantic has done absolutely NOTHING wrong, and in fact have a disclaimer at the beginning of the game saying it is up to the player to be aware of their surroundings and that they should always be careful. A Pokemon character on the grounds of a nuclear site, around a train station, or in a park of all places does not constitute any kind of illegality. Any accidents that ensue on the part of the player is their fault alone.

Sorry to all the Nintendo fans out there, but this is a huge, FAIL, FAIL, FAIL for the Japanese company. Domestic game designers who don't have one iota of critical thinking skills to imagine that their game should have had "off limit" locations identified WAY before they game was ever launched. Arlington National cemetery? The Hiroshima Peace Park? Auschwitz? The mind boggles at the sheer stupidity of the designers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's Niantic's data base, not 'domestic game designers'.

Again....the map data was from a previous game. The point of that game was to explore one's own area, and players were able to pin locations that they thought were interesting....nothing to catch, no invasive behavior necessary. Niantic uses that data base sans editing as the base for Pokemon Go, with highly rated tourist attractions from the previous game relabeled as Pokegyms, and other landmarks as Pokestops. This is why there's a high percentage of historical sites in the game.

Pokemon weren't purposely put places to antagonize people.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So people could at least use their discretion when hunting them, and show respect to what the Peace Park represents.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Maybe this was utter lack of foresight on their part, maybe its because of an attitude that "even negative publicity is good publicity." Still, I could see hefty lawsuits coming their way due to this lack of due diligence on Niantic/Nintendo's part.

Or MAYBE... the courts would throw out any hypothetical lawsuits as groundless because the first screen you see (after the Niantic splash screen) tells you "Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings." Players can't claim Niantic is at fault for any injury a Pokemon Go player inflicted on themselves. It's self-inflicted, after all. If a Pokemon Go player injures someone ELSE, they are at fault, not Niantic/The Pokemon Company.

If a location doesn't want Pokemon Go players, they can opt-out, as the article notes. This no doubt was a more elegant solution to Niantic than doing blanket exclusions and then having complaints about why that location was excluded.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cue the Pokemon apologists

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cue the Pokemon apologists

Nothing to apologize for. Darwin Award candidates are going to injure themselves no matter WHAT app they're glued to. People are acting like there's some sort of mind-control being exerted on Pokemon Go players by Niantic and therefore Niantic must be held responsible. Yet MILLIONS of Pokemon Go players manage to play the game EVERY DAY and not get their names in the newspaper for doing something incredibly stupid.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Love it.... now that Pokemon-Go is ticking off these officials it fully becomes a Niantic Game. No where in the article is Nintendo mentioned..... typical. If it were a Japanese game they would have used back channels and not have gone to the press.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

it fully becomes a Niantic Game.

The map data was Niantic's responsibility. Nintendo didn't develop it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Leave the SMOMBIES alone and let them play their Pokemon !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Love it.... now that Pokemon-Go is ticking off these officials it fully becomes a Niantic Game. No where in the article is Nintendo mentioned..... typical. If it were a Japanese game they would have used back channels and not have gone to the press.

How do some people come up with such nonsense

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Live here long enough and you'll notice patterns....but that might take a good memory in the first place.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have been at Peace Park every day since Pokemon Go (PGo) released last Friday in Japan. On Friday there were around 20-25 people playing around Gembaku Dome. Everyone was sitting quietly staring at their screens, playing alone. The crowd grew to around 50 people, but it was quite. This was not the experience I anticipated. I had heard of pub crawls, parks full of kids and adults catching Pokemon together, being active and social. I had read about the bars and restaurants in America and Australia filling up with players dropping lures (ways to attract Pokemon to your location) and making the experience even more social. My Friday did not start this way. So rather than stick around, I ended up walking 12.5 kilometers on Friday night, catching Pokemon. I was on my screen for a lot of the time looking at the map, but I was also actively surveying my surroundings while looking for Pokestops. This is an aspect of the game that author of the article and other defectors of the game don’t mention, or don’t know about. You can take a moment to acclimate yourself to your surroundings and look for this place. Pokestops show you a picture of a landmark, monument, or place of note. You then interact with the Pokestop and the game gives a brief note about the location above the image. I spent hours finding places around downtown Hiroshima that I did not know existed. I wasn’t alone in this endeavor as I noticed throngs of people walking around doing the same thing as me. I even popped into a bar for a short respite to get a drink and eat some snacks to refuel. Friday ended up being fun, it was a good time for me to explore the game and I went to bed insanely satisfied and with a game plan for the next day to explore and walk some more.

Saturday at Peace Park was a totally different experience. Around 11AM I walked over and found that Genbaku Dome was surrounded with what seemed to be over 200 players. However, unlike the day before, players were talking quietly amongst themselves and politely staying out of the pathways allowing tourists to still experience Peace Park. A few people noticed my screen and asked me how I liked the game, what level I was, what team I was, what Pokemon I loved etc. We even got into some debates over which legendary bird was better. It was the experience I had been craving.The other players were a bit shocked to see someone like me playing the game apparently. I was a bit startled at their surprise but it struck me that I don’t look like much of a gamer. But the beauty of gaming, and of the growing culture is that we all look different, we all come from various backgrounds, but we collectively share these experiences and a love of something so simple. We are united by experiences that we have had for over 20 years. Gamers uniting. Man, what a rush! Over the course of Saturday I exchanged LINE information with a few Team Instinct players, grabbed snacks and beers with a handful of others, and walked another 15 kilometers. Not much of a zombie if I do say so myself.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday have passed and I have walked nearly 90 kilometers. I have made new friends, I have seen groups of people huddled together frantically trying to catch the Pokemon on their screen. I have seen droves of bicyclists chasing the next “big one” across the city. I have seen new friendships forged. I have seen surprise when old friends meet and realize that they share a love for Pokemon that they did not know existed before.I have lived here in Hiroshima and extensively traveled through Japan over the past 3 years, and I have never seen so much activity, so much life, on a normal weekend or weekday in Hiroshima. I have never seen so many people in Hiroshima interacting. Even the players crowding the bridge near Peace Park, the benches along the river, the nooks and crannies along the side streets people normally don’t venture to… everyone is making the most of this new technology and socializing and exploring. Where would these people be otherwise? In a smokey bar drinking the night away? At home in-front of their TV? Most people are having an amazing time. The crowds have grown from the 10s to the 100s. How can this be a bad thing? How is this not living?

I think people would focus on one aspect of the post; the author of the article, or blog, rightfully mentions that Peace Park and Genbaku Dome in particular is a sacred place. There is no denying this. The Peace Museum is a sombre experience that still brings tears to my eyes when I visit, but not a single player is taking away from this. No one is desecrating the space. No one is being so belligerent that tourists are losing the experience of Hiroshima. There are still free tour guides actively showing tourists around and answering questions. In fact, on Tuesday afternoon, a survivor of the atomic bomb came with a small congregation and they stopped in-front of the dome to chant and play drums. Literally every player surrounding the area fell still and quiet. They continued to play the game after some time, but everyone was cognizant of what was happening. They still appreciated the fact that this landmark symbolizes a volatile, dark period of history of the city for people. They were not about to interrupt this experience for the woman. So who is the author, or who is anyone else to interrupt this collective experience we gamers are having around Peace Park? Let’s not be quick to forget that Genbaku Dome once served as a Product Exhibition Hall and was at the center of Hiroshima vibrant shopping district where people would come everyday to socialize and interact. The streets were alive in Hiroshima before the horrific actions occurred, and the streets are once again brimming with life and activity. Let’s see where this crazy little thing goes.

P.S. I didn’t even mention any of the economic effects that the game has had on small businesses surrounding the Peace Park, Miyajima, and Ujina Port areas. Food for thought.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ Ananta PB... great post... I thought that might happen. What may have started as a game became a learning experience which has brought more attention to Peace Park itself. And as usual.... the powers that be, could not fathom that these players had enough intelligence to realize where they were. Why is it that they constantly underestimate the younger generation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If the officials "are not happy" at the prospect of people playing a game at their memorials, they certainly are within their rights to request that the game exclude the areas around their memorials. If the players were disruptive I could understand the concern, but I have yet to come across any players who would fall under that category. The nosiest players I've encountered so far were young children playing the game and excitedly telling their parent/guardian every time they saw/captured a Pokemon. Teen/Adult players walk from place to place rather than run and generally speak in normal tones. I doubt the players in Japan are much different from the players here in how they behave.

The Google store says over 50 million downloads of the game have happened. I can imagine about the same amount has been registered over at the Apple iStore. Even if you assume half of those people only tried the game and then quit, you're still talking about around 50 million players worldwide having to explain to the uninitiated why the 15 to 20 stories of stupidity do not represent the reality of the game. There are morons in every culture but I guess it's easier to blame a game for exposing the morons than it is to blame the moron for their own decisions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The peace park is a place for contemplation, not Pikachu hunting. Total disrespect

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The peace park is a place for contemplation, not Pikachu hunting. Total disrespect

No issues with the first phrase and the city officials have rendered their decision on the second phrase. You're way off-base with the second sentence, however, unless you plan on applying the same accusation to anyone who has their phone out while in the park. Parks are supposed to be relaxing - something that can't happen with the Contemplation Gestapo going around browbeating anyone not showing the proper level of contemplation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Peace Park is designed for contemplating the victims of the atomic attacks, and as such serves a different purpose from other public parks in Tokyo. Your defence of Pokemon hunting in areas like this displays your lack of respect.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Peace Park is designed for contemplating the victims of the atomic attacks, and as such serves a different purpose from other public parks in Tokyo. Your defence of Pokemon hunting in areas like this displays your lack of respect.

What about the chess or go players? What about the musicians that sit along the river and under the bridges (acoustics) to sing and play?

Contemplation Gestapo LOL

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some places need to be off limits to this game. Propriety has to come into play at some time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NO GINGER<Hiroshima Peace Park is an added bonus: to learn about history and culture, to learn to respect for those who suffered, and to learn manners and consideration for other visitors who wish to find peace there.....well i can sort of see where your coming from, but, I don't think that it will make a great deal of difference , why? won't these people who are after rewards or pokey XXX once they have caught something won't they be hunting for the next XXXX or next station, so if they are totally concentrated on getting to the next level or next challenge will they be taking in the surroundings, and looking at the plaque or statue? probably not, some people become zombified. thats not to say that some might digest what is around them but iam sure there will be a lot that don't. In the UK there are now reports of people that have had there mobiles stolen because thugs know where these pokys are and wait for a child or some unsuspected adult to walk along .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Get with it Japan... you obviously have your priorities wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So I guess we should also ban hanami and picnicking in the park since that's frivolous as well, right? While I would agree that the A-bomb Dome, cenotaph, children's monument, and museum should not be gyms or stops, I say the rest of the park is fair game. It's too large and too beautiful a park to be treated exclusively as a place for solemn contemplation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites