With the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon on the rise, Nintendo had decided to give Pikachu the new name “Pikaqiu”. However, it sounds more likely this name change will only be significant in areas that receive the Chinese version of this game not any of the others.
Pikachu’s name change sounds as though it is a way for Nintendo to unify Hong Kong’s languages of Mandarin and Cantonese. Originally for Hong Kong players Pikachu’s name was “比卡超 (Bei-kaa-chyu)”. In changing the name around to “皮卡丘 (Pikaqiu -Pei-kaa-jau)” the electric mouse’s name now sounds more like the American pronunciation of Pikachu.
While 皮卡丘 (Pikaqui) sounds more like Pikachu, 比卡超 (Bei-kaa-chyu) is what many Hong Kong fans have grown up with. It would almost be like changing the electric mouse’s name from Pikachu to something more American like ZappyMouse. Many fans that grew up with the game would most likely go forth and storm Nintendo to change his name back. As is what is happening with the fans of Hong Kong and Taiwan.
However, the main and most important worry for Chinese citizens is not just Pikachu’s name change but because the Beijing government is trying to suppress the people of China. Because of this Pokémon for China is being translated into Mandarin instead of Cantonese.
“We’re afraid Cantonese may be disappearing.” -Wong Yeung-tat
This is raising controversy in China as fans are enraged over Pikachu’s name change going so far as to say they will boycott Pokémon until the electric mouse’s name is changed back. Dozens of Chinese citizens even held a protest in front of the Japanese Consulate building, singing the Cantonese Pokémon theme song and holding up signs demanding Nintendo to give them back Bei-kaa-chyu. There’s even a petition with over 6,000 signatures on it for Nintendo to change Pikachu’s name. However, despite the Petition, Nintendo is going to stick with their translation.
We can only hope Nintendo will listen to their fans and change Pikachu’s name back. Let us know what you think in the comments.