How many naughty words can you think of? Chances are, it’s more than Nintendo.
Adults may play them and love them, but there’s no denying that the Pokémon are designed to be kid-friendly, which is why Nintendo has drawn up a list of naughty words that can’t be used as names in the Japanese versions of Pokémon Black and White. Unfortunately, that list is far from exhaustive, as a Japanese blogger with way too much time on his hands has discovered.
Nintendo’s list includes a number of words describing the more intimate parts of the human anatomy, various sexual acts, ethnic and cultural slurs and a handful of Western swear words added for good measure. But Japanese is nothing if not a versatile language, and the blogger was able to find dozens of words, again including swear words, descriptions of sexual acts and racial slurs, that Nintendo had missed. Without speaking Japanese, it’s hard to tell whether the five words for male genitalia that Nintendo blocked are significantly worse than the five it seems to have allowed. I’m assuming it’s the difference between terms like “Johnson” and its cruder equivalents, but apparently, most of the words, both blocked and unblocked, are considered too rude for television.
It’s going to be even harder for Nintendo to catch every naughty word when it localizes the game for the West, especially when you consider the Roman alphabet has a number of characters you can swap out for letters to make something that most people would still recognize as a rude word. It’s entirely possible that Nintendo will decide not to go to the trouble, and just let you call your trainer and Pokémon whatever you want. Pokémon Black and White are already available in Japan, and come out in the West next spring.