Pokemon fans in Hong Kong are disgruntled by the recent news of Pikachu’s name change in the upcoming Pokemon titles Sun and Moon. The two titles will be released in traditional and simplified Chinese in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
In previously released titles, different regions in China had their own translations to reflect their region’s local language, which is not going to be the case in the new series. These changes will mean that Pikachu’s name will be changed from 比卡超 (Bei-kaa-chyu) in Hong Kong to 皮卡丘 (Pikaqiu). Quartz’s Zheping Huang explains the situation:
“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.”
Quartz explains that the biggest impact with the name change is in Hong Kong, this is because Cantonese has traditionally been the common language. The issue relates to some people in Hong Kong believing that the Cantonese language is being threatened by the Chinese government.
This change has left Hong Kong based Pokemon fans taking to Nintendo’s Facebook page to express their dissatisfaction. Along with this, a small group of protesters have gathered in front of the Japanese Consulate in Central, singing the Cantonese theme song and demanding that they change the name back. There is also a Facebook community and an online petition gathering 6000 signatures so far.