‘Pokémon GO’ Launches In Japan

After breaking records and literally being all anyone could talk about for the last few weeks in the United States and Canada, Pokémon GO has finally launched in Japan.

The release on Friday (July 22) in Japan has citizens of the island nation as excited (or possibly more excited) than North Americans who have been going crazy the last few weeks. But what is so special about the app in Japan? Pokemon Go is not just a new app in Japan, but it is a coming home for Pokémon.

Pokemon Go Launches In Japan ‘Pokémon GO’ has finally launched in Japan, the 21st country to land the game. [Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images]According to CIO Today, Pokémon GO in Japan will be the 21st country to land the app. Even though Japan is the home of Pokémon, Pokémon GO launched in mainly English-speaking countries before ever making its way to the land of its creation. And for that, there have been apologies to the people of Japan, CIO Today reports.

“One of the Japanese creators of the game apologized for the delay in a video with the American head of Niantic posted on the internet.

“‘To everyone in Japan: I am sorry to make you wait for so long,’ said Jyunichi Masuda, the head of development at Game Freak Inc., the developer of the original Pokémon game. ‘”Pokémon Go” can now be played in Japan.'”

For anyone hoping Pokémon GO in Japan would be as pure as the game we all remember from childhood, the New York Times says do not hold your breath. According to the newspaper, Pokémon GO in Japan will have product placement and partnerships with major companies looking to cash in on Pokémon GO‘s mega popularity not only in the United States, but also in Japan.

The primary sponsor featured in the game — at least at this time — is McDonald’s. The New York Times said the message to Japanese Pokémon GO users will be simple: eat McDonald’s.

Pokemon Go Launches In Japan Signs on the New York City Subway warn riders to be safe when playing ‘Pokémon GO’. Tourist sites in Japan have urged locals to stay away from the sites while playing the game. [Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]“The game’s creators have struck a deal with the Japanese affiliate of McDonald’s to make most of its 2,900 stores in the country available as special game locations,” the Times reported. “At these in-game ‘gyms’ and ‘Poké spots,’ Pokémon Go players can pit their monsters against other players’ menageries, or collect items that bolster their creatures’ power. The fast-food company hopes they will buy Big Macs and French fries, too, but does not require it.”

While McDonald’s is basically buying product placement within the Pokémon GO universe in Japan, officials in the country are urging players to not take the game to major tourist spots.

According to the Economic Times, important shrines and other locations that are considered sacred in Japan are begging locals to not play Pokémon GO for fear that it will take away from the spirituality and/or experience for both tourists and locals alike.

“Himeji Castle, Japan’s most famous and best preserved feudal fortress, has placed signs inside and in surrounding areas urging the public not to play while walking through the complex,” the Economic Times reported. “Managers of the castle, which is also a World Heritage Site, explained to public broadcaster NHK that the complex is full of steps and areas — for example the moats surrounding Himeji — that are restricted as they are dangerous.”

The urging of individuals managing tourists sites comes as other incidents have happened around the world. The Inquisitr previously reported on two Canadian teens who accidentally crossed the border with the United States while playing Pokémon GO, causing an international incident between the two countries. In the same article, the Inquisitr showed video of a journalist being called out for playing Pokemon Go during a briefing at the United States Department of State.

At this time, it is unknown how many times Pokémon GO has been downloaded in Japan.

[Image via Nintendo]