Japan’s Pokémon Go servers were invaded by Chinese players shortly after the game’s release in the country. Other than just playing the game, some appear to have used their access for nationalistic protest.
For one, a Dragonite named “Long live China!” took over the gym at the Yasukuni Shrine, the controversial memorial where Japan buries those who have died in the service of the Empire of Japan, including convicted war criminals.
The offending Pokémon belonged to a group of Chinese players who faked their GPS location. A member identified as Yang told Buzzfeed:
“We were just trying out the new Japanese server, and some in the group spotted Yasukuni Shrine by accident. We just wanted to play, we didn’t imagine the result. You know what Yasukuni Shrine means to China.”
It must be noted that during World War II, China, part of the Allied powers, and Japan, part of the Axis powers, were enemies. A redditor expressed:
“Even though the Japanese did a lot of horrible things during the wars they were involved in, and the shrine has become a sort of rallying point for a very problematic nationalist movement, the shrine itself isn’t as bad as people like to suggest.”
The rest of the unwelcome visitors simply want to play Pokémon Go. The game is not available in China yet, and Japan was the closest country at the time. Hong Kong is the second Asian location to launch the game. Chinese fans are so desperate to play the game they actually have a ripoff called City Spirit Go.
Pokémon Go’s release in China may be a far-off reality, and some prospects are accepting. Google remains blocked in the country, which means Niantic will have to find other means to make the game playable for fans there.
Still, others are hopeful, “If Hong Kong has been launched, can a mainland China launch be far off?”
The answer is unclear, but waiting is always an option.