Pokémon’s new Sun and Moon video games are set to be released in November this year. The series release will commemorate the franchise’s 20th anniversary. But in a controversial move The Pokémon Company will, for the first time, use only Mandarin Chinese names for the characters.
In Hong Kong the local language pronunciation is different to other parts of China. Previously Pikachu has been pronounced “bei-ka-ciu” in Hong Kong and “pi-ka-qiu” in mainland China.
But that is about to change and Hong Kong fans are not happy about it.
Nintendo has announced that they’ll be changing the names of more than 100 characters from Pokémon to unify them and rename them under Mandarin translations.
So even though both Hong Kong and mainland China read Chinese, Hong Kong use traditional Chinese whereas mainland China use simplified Chinese. Therefore the languages have slight differences.
On Monday a group of protestors marched outside the Japanese Consulate in Hong Kong to demand that the character’s name be changed back to “bei-ka-ciu” instead of Pikachu across the board.
There has been a Facebook page set up in protest also with nearly 3,000 followers thus far. In March a petition asking Nintendo to reverse their name changing decision was signed by 6, 000 people.
Previous to the recent name changes all Pokémon animations were translated into local languages depending on the region. Earlier in the year Nintendo released the Chinese-language names for more than 150 Pokémon characters and Hong Kong locals weren’t happy. But the Pikachu name change seems to have hit the biggest nerve.
Protesters just want Nintendo to respect their local culture and local language.