Fans of the popular media franchise “Pokémon” have become disappointed after learning that main Pokémon character “Pikachu” is going to be given a new name for the Hong Kong market.
Pokémon is a Japanese name. So in order to cater to the Chinese market in Hong Kong, Pikachu will be given the following Mandarin Chinese translation: Pei Ka Yau.
It will sound like “Pikayao” if you say it out loud quickly.
After the news about the name change was announced, people went out on the streets of Hong Kong to protest. One protester named Wong Yeung-tat associated it with “cultural whitewashing.”
Of course, many think that this is only a gaming company’s decision to change a name on one of its products. But being in Hong Kong now, being part of this generation of Hongkongers, we are facing a lot of cultural whitewashing.
People took to the streets in protest
【捍衛比卡超！ 十萬伏特大遊行】阿昇譚仔向「皮卡丘」「寶可夢」說不任天堂最近將「寵物小精靈」系列更名為「精靈寶可夢」，比卡超更被硬改成「皮卡丘」。毒撚媒體、熱血公民及熱血時報今日發起遊行，由遮打花園遊行到日本駐港總領事館，希望日本政府向任天堂施壓，保留港台兩地各自的「寵物小精靈」譯名，推出真正「在地化」的中文版遊戲。毒撚媒體副編輯及熱血時報主持譚仔於領事館門外，撕爛寫有「皮卡丘」「寶可夢」的紙張，向噁心譯名說不。#比卡超 #皮你老母 #寶你老母 #任天堂 #熱血時報 #熱血公民 #毒撚媒體
Posted by 毒撚媒體LonelyMedia on Sunday, May 29, 2016
The names for Pokémon have always catered to different regions where it is released. But Nintendo decided back in March to translate their newest game “Pokémon Sun and Moon” using simplified mandarin instead of the Cantonese they had used previously.
The reason the protesters are upset is because not all Chinese speakers use a dialect that is the same. Each dialect is different and has their own historical and cultural significance to them.
A petition to Nintendo to stop this name change has already gotten over 6,000 signatures. However, this wasn’t enough signatures to cause Nintendo to make any changes. Therefore, the name is going to stay as-is.