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Pikachu's name change in China is leading to protests in Hong Kong

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They're not very happy with Nintendo

When Pokémon Sun and Moon arrive in December, they'll be the first titles Nintendo has released in the franchise that will be available to play in traditional and simplified Chinese for players in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China.

The inclusion of the Chinese languages follows fan petitions back in 2014 asking for these localizations. Yet some are upset that the translation renames one of Nintendo's most popular Pokémon characters, Pikachu.

According to Quartz, people who live in Hong Kong were displeased upon learning that the name of the original 151 Pokémon would be translated into Mandarin instead of the more largely spoken Cantonese. As a result, the new name for Pikachu reads like "Pei-kaa-jau" in Cantonese, which sounds much different from the original translation, "Bei-kaa-chyu."

To demonstrate to Nintendo just how upset they are with the name change, people in Hong Kong have started protesting in the streets, demanding that the company use a Cantonese translation for the people who live in the city. Some protesters told Quartz they were ready to boycott Nintendo if the company didn't release a Cantonese translation for the games.

In response, Nintendo released a letter asking Hong Kong fans to simply ignore the Mandarin spelling and read it like they usually would. Despite that, however, the Hong Kong community of Pokémon fans have set up a Facebook group to express their concerns and frustrations. The group already has 6,000 members asking Nintendo to recognize their independence and respect their chosen language.

There's no exact release date for Pokémon Moon and Sun just yet, but the company did release the first look at the new starter Pokémon earlier this month.


Pokemon Sun and Moon First Gameplay Trailer