Pikachu is getting a name change along with others characters in the popular Pokémon games series, but fans in Hong Kong are not happy about it.
The BBC News reported
Monday that the Japanese video game giant Nintendo is preparing two new games in the Pokémon series that will use only Mandarin Chinese names for its characters, meaning many will be renamed according to their Mandarin translations.
In the past, Pokémon characters were translated differently in various parts of China to reflect local pronunciations, stated the BBC News. The popular Pikachu was known as Bei-Ka-Ciu in Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong and Pi-Ka-Qiu among Mandarin-speaking people in mainland China.
"The distinction may seem trivial, but it speaks to a broader fear among Hong Kong residents: that Mandarin Chinese, the language of mainland China, is gradually replacing the Cantonese dialect most widely used in Hong Kong," wrote The Washington Post
Nintendo has said that the simplified Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon games will be distributed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China in December. The change to Mandarin will also change the name of Pokémon from "Little Pet Spirits" in Hong Kong to "Pokémon Spirits."
The changes have sparked protest in the streets and on social media, reported Kotaku.com
. The website reported Monday that some protesters held a demonstration in front of the Japanese Consulate in Hong Kong, demanding that Nintendo change the name back.
Kotaku.com also reported that protesters have launched a Facebook site to voice opposition to Nintendo's decision. The website stated that the protesters had gathered 6,000 signatures from a petition against the change.
"Our main point is that the translation ignores Hong Kong's culture," a spokesman from a Facebook group Petition to keep Regional Chinese Translations of Pokémon, said, according to the BBC News. "There's no respect for it."
University of Hong Kong professor Stephen Matthews said that local culture and tradition is at the heart of the protests.
"In the last few years people have felt that what makes Hong Kong special is disappearing bit by bit and what is an issue of Pokémon which is fairly trivial, becomes a big one because it's very sensitive," Matthews said.
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