With the upcoming release of Pokémon Sun and Moon, Nintendo has decided to change up how they handle translation for the games in greater China. In the past, different regions of China have each received their own translations. Going forward however, the games will only be translated in traditional and simplified Chinese.
While this may not seem like a big deal, it is in the many culturally divided regions of China, especially when it comes to Hong Kong and Taiwan. In Hong Kong for instance, the official language is Cantonese, not Mandarin. With the new move, Nintendo is officially renaming not only the series as a whole, but individual Pokémon, including Pikachu, with Mandarin names.
QZ.com covered the vocally negative fan reaction, including a protest that formed and marched on the Japanese Consulate in Hong Kong. More than just fans angry over Pikachu being renamed, the issue managed to hit on particularly tender political nerves.
“Our culture [and] language is threatened by the Beijing government, Mandarin, and simplified Chinese,” said Wong Yeung-tat, founder of Civic Passion, a radical localist group that seeks independence from China and helped organize the protest. “We’re afraid Cantonese may be disappearing.”
Nintendo “should respect our local culture,” Chu Sung Tak, an 18-year-old high school graduate and Pokémon fan stated. More than being a fan, he explained he was at the protest to “defend local language.”
Multiple calls have since come out on Hong Kong social media to boycott the games, and Nintendo in general, if the new translations move forward.
In other Pokémon news, we recently got our first look at the starter Pokémon for Sun and Moon.