MIRANDA PAK WRITES – For the first time since the release of the Pokémon franchise 1996, the games have been launched in simplified and traditional Chinese in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Traditionally, according to BBC reporting: “Pokemon characters’ names used to be translated differently in different parts of the Chinese-speaking world, to reflect local pronunciation.”
Pokémon Sun and Moon are to be released for the Nintendo 3DS game counsel, in celebration of Pokémon’s 20th anniversary.
Releasing the games in both simplified and traditional Chinese seems to be a good move, but fans, especially those in Hong Kong, are not happy with this choice. They found that many of the Chinese-language names of the original Pokémon characters “were renamed in a Mandarin way.”
According to an article from Quartz, “Pikachu was originally translated as 比卡超 (Bei-kaa-chyu) in Hong Kong. Now it is named 皮卡丘 (Pikaqiu). While the name 皮卡丘 in Mandarin sounds similar to the global name Pikachu (as it was always called in China and Taiwan), it reads as Pei-kaa-jau in Cantonese, which doesn’t sound the same at all.”
Because of this name change, “around 20 protesters participated in a protest against Pikachu’s impending name change on May 30.” This protest ended at the Japan Consulate where the protesters planned to give a letter to the Japanese Consul-General Matsuda Kuninori.
In response, Nintendo released its own letter telling Hong Kong fans to ignore how it looks and read the name like they normally would. Hong Kong Pokémon fans are not happy with this response and “have set up a Facebook group to express their concerns and frustrations.” 6,000 people have already joined the group and are asking Nintendo to “respect their chosen language.”