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Pokémon in South Korea

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Pokémon in South Korea
Pokémon logo English.png
South Korea Flag.png
Flag of South Korea
Languages Korean
Continent Asia
Original anime airdates
EP001 July 14, 1999
AG001 July 21, 2003
DP001 September 10, 2007
BW001 May 16, 2011

The Pokémon franchise first reached South Korea in 1999, with the first airing of Pikachu, I Choose You! on the Seoul Broadcasting System. None of the first generation Pokémon games were released in South Korea, so it was not until the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver in 2002 that Pokémon games were released in South Korean stores.


Due to the rocky history between Japan and (South) Korea, Japanese cultural imports such as manga, anime, video games, music and movies had been banned by the South Korean government since the end of World War II. This ban was still in effect during the releases of Red and Green Versions in Japan in 1996. As such, most Pokémon-related media of its time never made its way into South Korea, particularly all of the first generation games. Likewise, most video game systems in this period, such as the NES/Famicom and the Game Boy would not be released by their official Japanese developer (like Nintendo), but by Korean companies (such as Hyundai) which had licensed the hardware designs for sale in Korea. Furthermore, the Korean systems would actually be based on their American counterparts rather than their Japanese ones.

Eventually, South Korean and Japanese relations had warmed up to the point where the South Korean government's ban on Japanese cultural imports was partially lifted in October 1998. This in turn helped pave the way for the release of some Pokémon titles into South Korea. In particular, the Pokémon anime would be first aired in July 1999, while the Pokémon manga series, Pokémon Adventures (포켓몬스터 스페셜 Pokémon Special), would hit bookshelves in August 1999. The first main series game, however, would be Pokémon Gold and Silver (포켓몬스터 금·은 Pocket Monsters Gum·Eun), which saw a release in April 2002; however, it could only be played on Hyundai's "Mini Comboy" system (a Game Boy clone which was licensed to Hyundai), and not on hardware officially released by Nintendo themselves. However, neither Pokémon Crystal nor the third generation games would see a release in South Korea, most likely due to the difficulty of including the Korean language writing system in the games (seeing as it took about three years for Gold and Silver to be released), as well as the lack of Game Boy Advance hardware in South Korea at the time.

It was not until January 2004 that the South Korean government completely lifted its ban on Japanese cultural imports. This allowed Nintendo to officially operate in South Korea as Nintendo of Korea starting on July 2006, with Pokémon Korea, Inc. beginning its operations a month later. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (known as Pocket Monsters DP - Dialga • Palkia) would finally be released in February 2008, finally playable on official Nintendo hardware (the Nintendo DS Lite, which was released in January 2007).

Since then, Pokémon has enjoyed considerable success in South Korea, with all the different series of games, anime and manga being released consistently and regularly with their other international counterparts. Pokémon in South Korea also tends to be more similar to what is released in Japan, as opposed to being based on the North American version like with Europe and other Commonwealth nations.

Pokémon video games

Cover of Pokémon Giratina Pt version

As none of the first generation or third generation were released in South Korea, it was not until April 24, 2002 when Pokémon Gold and Silver were released for the Game Boy Color in South Korean stores. Unlike previous localizations of Pokémon Gold and Silver, these versions are not playable on the original Game Boy at all, and display an incompatibility message if inserted into an original Game Boy, like Pokémon Crystal. [1] For unknown reasons, Pokémon Crystal was never released in the Korean language, although it may be of note that the Game Boy Color's lifespan overseas was almost finished.

Since February 2008, all of the fourth generation main series games have been released in South Korea. Several of the spin-off Pokémon games have been released in South Korea as well. The Generation V games have also been released.

With some exceptions such as Pikachu and the legendary Pokémon, most of the Pokémon species names are completely localized into the Korean language; especially in later generations, these often skew closer to the original Japanese names than translated names in other languages. For more information on these translated names, see list of Korean Pokémon names.


Local events have been occurring often in South Korea since the release of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. The events are usually announced on the Korean Pokémon website.

Unlike other translations of the games, Korean events tend to be based directly on their Japanese counterparts rather than on North American and European events.

Pokémon anime

Cartoon Network logo

The Korean dub of the Pokémon anime was first aired in July 1999, and is mainly based on the original Japanese version. Most characters are renamed in the dub.

Tooniverse logo

In South Korea, the Pokémon anime had aired on Seoul Broadcasting System since the series' debut. Currently, episodes of the anime are aired on Tooniverse, CHAMP TV, Animax, Cartoon Network, ANIONE, and Jei TV.

Special episodes, such as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Team Go-Getters out of the Gate and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness, have been dubbed as well.

Unlike the other dubs, the Korean dub has banned 20 episodes so far, including the ones banned in Japan.


Much like the English dub, the Korean dub of the Pokémon anime features different openings from that in Japanese.

Screenshot Title Debut Episode Final Episode
NOEP.png 모험의 시작
The Start of an Adventure
피카츄! 너로 정했다!
Pikachu! I Choose You!
포켓몬 리그 최후의 승자
Pokémon League Final Winner
NOEP.png 포켓몬 Forever
Pokémon Forever
마사라타운! 새로운 여행!
Masara Town! A New Journey!
라이벌 대결, 지우 VS 바람
Rival Showdown! Jiu VS Baram!
NOEP.png Victory
새로운 출발! 성도리그!!
A New Departure! The Seongdo League!!
NOEP.png 포켓몬스터 AG
Pocket Monsters AG
새로운 시작 새로운 모험
A New Beginning, a New Adventure
여행의 끝, 그리고 여행의 시작!
The End of a Journey, the Start of my Journey!
NOEP.png 웃어봐
새로운 여행! 신참 트레이너 나빛나!!
The New Journey! The Rookie Trainer Na Bit-Na!!
빛나! 엄마의 라이벌을 만나다!
Bit-Na! Meet Mom's Rival!
NOEPHD.png Yes I Can!
Yes I Can!
갤럭시단! 다시 나타나다! (제1부)
Galaxy-dan! Striking Again (Part 1)!
더블 배틀! 플러시와 마이농 VS 맘모꾸리와 브케인!
Double Battle! Plusie and Minong VS Mammokkuri and Beukein
NOEPHD.png 포켓몬 Love Forever
Pokémon - Love Forever
폭발적인 진화! 초염몽!
An Explosive Evolution! Choyeommong!
추억은 펄! 우정은 다이아몬드!!
Memories are Pearls! Friendship is a Diamond!!
NOEPHD.png Another Challenge
Another Challenge
하나지방과 제크로무의 어두운 그림자!
The Hana Region! In the Dark Shadows of Jekeuromu!
격투 모란만체육관! 지우 VS 보미카!! (후편)
Battle at Moranman Gym! Jui VS Bomica!! (Part 2))

Cast and Crew

Many voice actors and actresses have contributed to the production of the Korean dub of the Pokémon anime.

Ash Ketchum was voiced by 최덕희 Choi Deok-Hyi for the Original series, Mewtwo's Counterattack, and Lugia's Birth. 안현서 An Hyeon-Seo voiced Ash for M03, M04, and M05. 이선호 Lee Seon-Ho voiced Ash for Advanced Generation and Diamond & Pearl series as well as the movies in the respective series.

Misty was voiced by 지미애 Chi Mi-Ae. Brock is voiced by 구자형 Ku Ja-Hyeong for the original series and all the movies until Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy. 변영희 Byeon Yeong-Hyi has voiced Brock for the Advanced Generation and Diamond & Pearl series. Tracey Sketchit was voiced by 이영주 Lee Yeong-Ju.

May was voiced by 지미애 Chi Mi-Ae for 아름다운 소원의 별 지라치.

Pokémon Trading Card Game

The Pokémon Trading Card Game was officially released in South Korea, printing cards until EX Power Keepers. Recently, the TCG has been released again, starting with 모험의 시작 Start of the Adventure and its recent expansion, 암흑의 초승달 Darkness of Crescent. Currently, the distributor is Pokémon Korea, Inc.

Unlike the North American set, the booster packs are called Extension Packs, the decks are called Random Decks, and the promotional pack is called a Special Set. The borders, colors and layout is the based on the current English cards.

In 2010, Pokémon Cards from Diamond & Pearl, Platinum,and HeartGold & SoulSilver were released in South Korea with text in Korean language. As of March 2011, there are ten series (with 40 or 60 cards each), eight theme decks (with 30 cards each) and 22 black star promotional cards, containing cards selected from a variety of expansion sets. A complete list in English of the Korean cards with reference to the original cards is available at the Korean Pokémon Card Database in English. Listings of the cards in Korean on the official Korean language Pokémon TCG site are here.

Pokémon merchandise

Pokémon manga

Cover of volume 1 Pokémon Adventures

Pokémon Adventures, 포켓몬스터 스페셜 Pokémon Special, has been published in South Korea by Daewon C.I. (대원씨아이) since August 1999. Since then, they have published every volume that has been released in Japan as of November 15, 2011.

Magical Pokémon Journey has been translated into Korean as well.

External links


  1. Hangeru Team (Korean Pokémon blog)
The Pokémon franchise around the world
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Asia: Greater ChinaIndonesiaMalaysiaPhilippinesSingaporeSouth AsiaSouth KoreaThailandVietnam
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Project Globe logo.png This article is part of Project Globe, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon franchise around the world.