The Pokemon Company has announced name changes to three Pokemon species in China, the first time that a Pokemon species has ever had their names changed after appearing in a game. Pokemon announced that Porygon-2, Porygon Z and Mimikyu were all getting new Chinese names on the company's Weibo account, which acts as an equivalent to Twitter in China. No reason was given for the name changes, but it's speculated that the Pokemon's names were changed due to recent regulations that requires game characters not to have English letters in their names. As shown below, all three Pokemon originally had a mix of Chinese characters and English letters, while the new names either use exclusively Chinese characters or use Arabic numerals instead.
Although this doesn't impact most of the world, this does mark the first time the Pokemon Company has ever changed any of its Pokemon names after appearing in a game. We'll also note that Pokemon games aren't officially sold in China, although the Pokemon franchise has a growing presence there and many fans import the games from either Hong Kong, Japan, or other countries. There is speculation that the name change was made to help new Pokemon games get past Chinese censors, although that remains to be seen.
According to the official Pokemon Weibo account,
the Chinese names of several Pokemon are being changed.
It was speculated that the name changes were due to the new regulations for game characters, in which the Chinese names of game characters can NOT contain English letters. pic.twitter.com/J8DiX0da8o— Jynx Propaganda ルージュラだいすき (@JynxClub) March 23, 2020
While Pokemon have never had their name changed, some Pokemon have gotten subtle re-designs to help avoid cultural issues. Jynx's skin color was changed to avoid blackface comparisons, while Mr. Mime grew a finger to prevent association with the Yakuza and other Japanese crime syndicates.
Are you surprised at the Pokemon name changes? Let us know in the comment section or find me on Twitter at @CHofferCBus to talk all things Pokemon!