Protesters gathered to march the morning of May 30 in Hong Kong to march to the Japanese Consulate to protest… Pokémon. According to the announcement video released by Nintendo back in February, Pokémon Sun and Moon will release in nine languages worldwide, including simplified and traditional Chinese. These languages, however, do not include Cantonese, the traditional language of Hong Kong. Previously, Pokémon games were translated to suit the specific regions they were being released in. According to a report from Quartz:

Pokémon in Greater China will be officially called 精靈寶可夢, or Jingling Baokemeng in Mandarin (Jingling means “spirit” or “elf,” and Baokemeng is a transliteration of Pokémon). Earlier in Hong Kong, it was 寵物小精靈, Pet Little Elves (or Spirits), while in Taiwan, it was 神奇寶貝, Magic Babies.

Meanwhile, the ever-popular Pikachu, who’s Hong Kong name was previously 比卡超 (Bei-kaa-chyu) will now be called 皮卡丘 (Pikaqiu), which, when read in traditional Chinese sounds similar to “Pikachu”, is pronounced “Pei-kaa-jau” in Cantonese.

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Some in Hong Kong feel that their way of life and language are being threatened by the mainland Chinese government, and fear that their language is in danger of being slowly ousted. They feel that Nintendo releasing the games in Hong Kong without Cantonese options is another step in the takeover of the Mandarin language.

Nintendo has released a letter to the Hong Kong audience saying they should read Pikachu’s name as “Pikachu”, regardless of how the Cantonese pronunciation of the word differs.


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Written by Bryan Finch

A video editor by trade, Bryan Finch is a lifetime Nintendo fan, and he loves writing about his passions. He also spends too much time playing and watching fighting games. Bryan enjoys​​ movies, comics, cooking with his wife, and the idea of Elite Beat Agents 2.

Bryan Finch