Chew brothers’ names mistaken for Pikachu and Raichu in Japan

Pikachu and Raichu battle it out in the Pokémon anime.

These are not Olympic athletes.
Screenshot: Netflix

When Phillip and Ryan Chew played against Japan in the badminton men’s doubles tournament, their names were shortened for the country’s TV broadcast.

A screenshot can be seen right here.

As reported on Yahoo! News Japan, the team US players’ names were written onscreen as “P・チュウ” (“P. Chew” in English) and R・チュウ (“R. Chew”), with their last names in katakana and their first names Phillip and Ryan getting only their initials in order to fit in the chyron box with the names of Japanese players Keigo Sonoda and Takeshi Kamura. When foreign last names are the same, this practice isn’t unusual in Japan.

However, as J-Cast News adds, adding the player’s first initials caused some Japanese viewers to instantly make a Pokémon connection, reading their names like “Pikachu” and “Raichu” as P・チュウ (P Chu) and R・チュウ (R Chu) written in Japanese do evoke ピカチュウ (Pikachu) and ライチュウ (Raichu).

(Though, P・チュウ (P Chu) sounds more like “Pichu” so no idea why that connection wasn’t first made.)

“I’m watching badminton, but I’m really sleepy, and when I saw P・チュウ and R・チュウ written, I read them as Pikachu and Raichu,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Apologies,” wrote another. “I thought P・チュウ and R・チュウ on team USA were Pikachu and Raichu.”

But no, that’s Phillip and Ryan! The Chew brothers are badminton players for the USA!

The brothers have deep ties to the sport. Their grandfather Don Chew founded the Orange County Badminton Club, where the two train. Phillip competed in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, while this is Ryan’s first Olympic games. The two have won silver and gold at the Pan Am Championships.

According to Reuters, the duo has been the highest-ranked men’s doubles since 2018. “Some people tell us they would never be able to play with their sibling but, for us, we do a good job at communicating with each other, whether it’s suggestions about our game or style, so it works out for the two of us,” Ryan told the publication.

Team USA was ultimately defeated by Japan’s badminton team in the men’s doubles match.

You can watch highlights below from the Chew brothers’ match against China. Team USA was the underdog going in, but watching the match, goodness, all the players’ reflexes are intense. Have a look if you’ve missed it:


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