Pokémon Fans Rally Against Pikachu’s New Name

Nintendo has renamed the iconic yellow pocket monster, previously called Bei-kaa-chyu, to Pikaqiu in Cantonese – much to the dismay of fans in Hong Kong.

Nintendo has found itself at the center of a cultural controversy between mainland China and Hong Kong.

The gaming company, which is about to release a new Pokémon game titled “Sun and Moon,” has irked its fans in Hong Kong by renaming the iconic yellow pocket monster, Pikachu, to Pikaqiu in Cantonese. Translated previously as Bei-kaa-chyu, the new name doesn’t sound the same at all.

However, its Mandarin translation still sounds similar to the original — a fact that many associate with mainland China’s efforts to marginalize Cantonese, the language commonly used in Hong Kong.

Dozens of protesters marched to the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong on Monday, demanding Nintendo adopt a different Cantonese translation for the new Pokémon video game.

“Of course, many think that this is only a gaming company’s decision to change a name on one of its products. But being in Hong Kong now, being part of this generation of Hongkongers, we are facing a lot of cultural whitewashing,” said protester Wong Yeung-tat. “Protecting Hong Kong culture [and] protecting Cantonese culture has become something that our generation cannot run away from.”

Find out more in the video above.

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