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Nintendo releases statement on Pokemon name changes in China

by rawmeatcowboy
05 June 2016
GN Version 5.0

To ‘Petition to Keep Regional Chinese Translations of Pokémon’:

Thank you very much for your support.

After the announcement of Pokémon Sun/Moon being release globally this winter, the news of the Pokémon Sun/Moon’s inclusion of the Chinese language caused many reactions. At the same time, we received many opinions, which included the worry and the unfamiliarity to the new game title 『精靈寶可夢* (Pokémon)』and the new names for the Pokémon that appeared in past games.

Following the announcement of Pokémon Sun/Moon info in May 10th, the new names of the 151 Pokémon appeared in Pokémon Red/Green was also announced. However, the suggestions in the petition was not reflected in the info announcement. At the same time, we did not give detailed explanations, causing severe negative reactions. We sincerely apologize for causing this inconvenience.

The decision of the inclusion of additional language in Pokémon Sun/Moon was reached after discussion between Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. To help everyone understand the development concept of Pokémon Sun/Moon…

As for the Chinese name of Pikachu – it will be displayed as「皮卡丘**」in game. However, we never intended to restrict the pronunciation as「皮卡丘 (PeiKaaJau)」, instead we wish that the global pronunciation “Pikachu” will be used. Because of that, whenever the name「皮卡丘」appears in marketing and promotional materials, the pronunciation “Pikachu” will be used.

We understand the unfamiliarity caused by changes in the pronunciation of some Pokémon. Even though Pokémon Sun/Moon’s content cannot be change, the inclusion of the Chinese language is a meaningful first step. We truly hope that this franchise will reach greater accomplishments, and please continue your support and encouragement. Thank you.


Nintendo (Hong Kong) Ltd.


Translator Footnotes:

*The name 寵物小精靈 (Hong Kong’s translation of Pokémon) only appeared in various media, Pokémon Sun/Moon is the first time that a Pokémon game includes the Chinese language.

**皮卡丘 is Taiwan’s translation of Pikachu, which in Mandarin sounds like Pikachu. 比卡超 is Hong Kong’s translation of Pikachu, which in Cantonese sounds like Pikachu. But as mentioned by Nintendo of Hong Kong, the name should be pronounce as Pikachu regardless of different sounding characters.

The situation right now:

Mandarin: Same name, same pronunciation
Cantonese: Different name, same pronunciation

Seems like Nintendo is trying to lessen the pain that some Chinese gamers are feeling, and they're certainly easing up a bit on the pronunciation of Pikachu. That said, the changes are still happening and Chinese gamers will just have to roll with the punches.