Pikachu may be the most well-known Pokemon of all, and the species of yellow electric mouse Pokemon has been called that way in both English and Japanese. However, it is not called that way in several Chinese versions “to reflect the varied linguistic and cultural differences.” That has been the way since the original versions of the games were released, however, with the release of Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, there will be a few changes.
According to media news site, Quartz, the change has been criticized by long-time players of the game’s Chinese versions, as the fans say that the new translations “show no respect to their memories or language.”
-- Advertisment --
Now Nintendo wants to unify them: Pokémon in Greater China will be officially called 精靈寶可夢, or Jingling Baokemeng in Mandarin (Jinglingmeans “spirit” or “elf,” and Baokemeng is a transliteration of Pokémon). Earlier i
But while the change has largely been intended for the majority Mandarin-speaking players, it was protested by the fans living in Hong Kong, who speak mostly Cantonese.
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.
Pokefans in Hong Kong take Pokemon very seriously, and are even holding protests in front of the Japanese Consulate in Central, demanding Nintendo adopt a different Cantonese translation for the new Pokémon video game in Hong Kong. according to Quartz,
They held up banners with slogans reading “No Pei-kaa-jau, give me back Bei-kaa-chyu,” and sang the Cantonese Pokémon theme song on their route. The demonstration was co-organized by local Lonely Media and political group Civic Passion. Just a handful of ordinary citizens participated, perhaps because it was a working weekday.
According to one of the protesters, Chu Sung Tak, a 18-year-old high school graduate, “Nintendo should respect our local culture,”and then added that they would boycott the company if their demands are not answered.
While the protest seems a bit “geeky” at first, there is more to it than meets the eye, as it is also a political protest.
-- Advertisment --
“Our culture [and] language is threatened by the Beijing government, Mandarin, and simplified Chinese,” said Wong Yeung-tat, founder of Civic Passion, a radical localist group which seeks independence from China, said. “We’re afraid Cantonese may be disappearing.”
Video game renaming is just a tiny part of the shift to Mandarin—just 40% of Hong Kong’s primary schools are teaching Cantonese, a recent survey found.
Since the release of Pokémon’s Chinese names, Hong Kong have vowed to boycott Nintendo on its Hong Kong Facebook page.
“Pikachu is 比卡超, not 皮卡丘, I hereby vow I will never buy from Nintendo again, unless you finally understand what is Cantonese and the correct Chinese usage,” one gamer wrote. “Nintendo, why do you want to insult Cantonese?,” another asked.