At Last, Inappropriate Pokemon Go Locations are Being Removed

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.  Source: By Taisyo - photo taken by Taisyo, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Source: By Taisyo - photo taken by Taisyo, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Pokemon Go uses a GPS-based virtual reality system to automatically generate important in-game locations – “pokestops” and “gyms” – at real-world land landmarks, however, some of these landmarks are pretty inappropriate places to be playing the game. These include a large number of war memorials, graveyards, monuments and other such places. Many of these, such as the Arlington National Cemetary, have asked users to stop playing the game on the premises.

Historical sites and other special areas have also been asking Niantic Labs to remove them from the Pokemon Go game for weeks. This week, the developer finally began honoring those requests. Hiroshima, Japan, had requested that the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park be removed from the game before the 71st annual memorial service of the atomic attack from 1945. “We consider the park a sacred place where we pray for the victims of the atomic bombings,” city official Tatsumi Sumida said. It wasn’t until 1:56 am on the day of the service, that the city received confirmation that there were no more Pokemon monsters in the park.

Niantic has also removed the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. from the game.

Other tasteless locations used as pokestops and gyms in the game include the 9/11 Memorial Pool at Ground Zero, the Auschwitz concentration camp and an Iraq War memorial. There are also some more bizarre examples, such as people’s houses and even a local headquarters of the Hells Angels motorcycle club.

In a statement, the developer said that anyone who has private property or a place that might be a “potentially inappropriate PokeStop or Gym” can make a request for removal from the game using a form on Niantic’s website. The company claims to be moving rapidly to review all requests.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE