ByMatthew Bailey, writer at
Husband. Father. Gamer. Cinema Lover. Mix it all together, and there I am. I love all things pop-culture and coffee; but coffee is the best.
Matthew Bailey

Well, I guess it was good while it lasted, but apparently all things must come to an end; or quite possibly just a revamped beginning. Pokemon has been around for what seems like forever, well actually 20 years now. For some of you readers, Pokemon may have been around since before you were born, which makes me feel even older considering I played link-battles on the school bus with my friends.

With Nintendo's upcoming release of two new Pokemon titles, Pokemon Sun and Moon, I don't think they ever thought that their beloved games would wind up getting so complicated. But when you starting renaming one of the most famous characters in the franchise, it's easy to see why things are getting so complicated. With Nintendo's attempt to unify game releases in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan the games are going to be released in both traditional and simplified Chinese. This may not seem like a big deal, but until now differences in culture and dialect have spawned a variety of translations. This is going to change with Sun and Moon and as reported by Zheping Huang in Quartz, this is what we'll see:

Now Nintendo wants to unify them: 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.

This probably makes sense if you live in any area with a singular dialect, but when you're trying to make one unified language version of a game to an area that has several unique dialects there are bound to be some twists.

Hong Kong is where one of these twists can be found - Hong Kong being where the common language has always been Cantonese, rather than Mandarin. Because Pokemon Sun and Moon will be translated into Mandarin now, it's causing a stir because Pikachu now has a new name!

That's Right, I said it, Pikachu is now Pikaqiu

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.

Fans of the bright electric mouse have been protesting NIntendo's translating choice saying that they will never buy from Nintendo again. Although the protest has gained over 6,000 signatures for a petition against the decision, it looks as though Nintendo is sticking with the new translation.


Would you still play Pokemon, if Pikachu had a name change?


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