Sunday, September 26th | 21 Tishri 5782

April 15, 2016 7:30 am

Saddam Hussein Tried Banning Children’s Franchise ‘Pokemon’ Because Name of Character Means ‘Be a Jew’ in Arabic Dialect

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Saddam Hussein's spies believed the name of the Pokemon creature Pikachu, pictured, can be translated to "I am a Jew." Photo: Wikipedia.

Saddam Hussein’s spies believed the name of the Pokemon creature Pikachu, pictured, can be translated to “I am a Jew.” Photo: Wikipedia.

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein tried banning the popular children’s franchise Pokemon, since some of the characters’ names were deemed offensive when translated into a local Arabic dialect, The Sun reported.

Saddam’s spies were suspicious of the popular Japanese cartoon, toy and video-game franchise, after it “flooded the market” in 2001, according to top-secret documents obtained by US forces in 2004.

The franchise centers on fictional creatures called Pokemon, which humans, known as Pokémon Trainers, catch and teach to battle one another. Two of the most popular Pokemon creatures are Pikachu, a mouse-like creature with electric powers, and Growlith, who looks like a puppy and possesses fire powers. 

The General Security Directorate — a domestic force in Iraq — wrote a letter to Saddam saying that some of the names of the characters have multiple meanings and are insulting when translated into Syriac, a minority language in Iraq.

Related coverage

September 26, 2021 6:03 pm

Arrest Warrants Issued for Three Iraqi Leaders Who Attended Conference Calling for Peace With Israel

Three prominent Iraqi leaders are facing arrest warrants after they participated in a conference that called for peace with Israel,...

They claimed that “Pokemon” means “I am a Jew;” “Charmander” means “God is weak;”and “Magma” means “God is stupid.” They also said “Pikachu” means “Be a Jew,” and “Growlith” can be translated into “God is stingy.”

In their letter to Saddam, the security force said, “We have become aware of a phenomenon that spread quickly in the Muslim world and among our children. Our sons have become attached to this phenomenon.”

Pokemon was created in 1995.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.