Why the Pokémon World Championships Going to Hawaii Is Proving to be a Controversial Choice

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Controversial Decision: The Pokémon World Championships Sparks Debate with Its Selection of Hawaii as the Venue

The recent Maui wildfires are just one aspect contributing to the controversy surrounding this decision.

In recent weeks, wildfires have raged through Maui and various areas in Hawaii, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 99 lives. Although the fire has been contained to a large extent, certain parts of Lahaina are still ablaze, and Governor Josh Green anticipates a substantial increase in the number of fatalities.

In light of this unfortunate event, a representative from the Pokémon Company wore a Hawaiian shirt and stood on a beach with a Pikachu to reveal that the 2024 event will be held in Honolulu.

The location for #PokemonWorlds 2024 has been announced as Honolulu! The news was shared on Twitter by Play Pokémon.

Following their announcement, The Pokémon Company made a generous contribution of $200,000 to support the Hawaii Wildfire Relief Fund. In a heartfelt statement, the company expressed empathy and solidarity with all those affected by the destructive wildfires in Hawaii.

A tweet was posted by the official Play Pokémon account on August 13, 2023. The tweet contained a picture with the URL link pic.twitter.com/vlbaNRD2iX.

While some people lauded the act of donation, there were others who expressed concerns, not only about the timing of the announcement during the destructive wildfires but also about its potential consequences. Specifically, they highlighted the increase in tourism that would result from the donation, arguing that it has had a disproportionately negative effect on Hawaii.

The announcement sparked mixed reactions, as expressed by Kari Keone, a Hawaii resident, in a widely supported post.

In a detailed post, Keone expressed gratitude for the individuals who are now showing an interest in supporting Hawai'i. These people may not have been involved or attentive before, but Keone appreciates their newfound commitment. Keone emphasized that tourism does not benefit the native population. As an example, on the island of Oahu, there is only one hotel that is locally owned, while there are a total of 233 hotels. Keone recently stayed on Oahu and discovered this information, stressing the importance of researching and supporting locally owned establishments for ethical tourism.

The individual pleaded with The Pokémon Company to collaborate with indigenous communities in the area to ensure that all attendees and staff at Worlds are directed to use local services exclusively. They believe that anything less than this would be taking advantage of the local community.

According to Keone, the recent wildfires can be partially attributed to tourism. He argues that water resources, which were originally meant for wetlands, have been diverted towards tourist attractions like water features.

According to Keone, it is important for Pokémon to make significant and sincere efforts to prioritize and support native Hawaiians when it comes to their Pokémon Worlds event. Since Nintendo, the Japanese company that owns Pokémon, is aware that 10 out of the 12 Shinto shrines in the United States are located in Hawai'i, they should understand the significance and sacredness of the Hawaiian culture.

If Pokémon fails to make genuine and significant efforts to prioritize native Hawaiians during their Worlds event, it is advised not to attend. As a company owned by Nintendo, which is Japanese, they are well aware of the fact that 10 out of the 12 Shinto shrines in the United States are located in Hawai'i. They understand the importance of respecting sacred places.

A recent article in the International Relations Review discussed the negative impact of tourism on Hawaii, highlighting issues such as overcrowding, environmental degradation, and increased living expenses for local residents. In response to the worsening environmental damage, Hawaii has considered implementing a tourism fee this year.

I strongly believe that the decision to host Worlds in Honolulu should be reconsidered. The city is currently grappling with the negative impacts of tourism and gentrification, and it is also experiencing some of the most devastating wildfires in its history. Choosing Honolulu as the host city seems unwise and ill-advised.

The annual Pokémon World Championships is a highly competitive event that showcases various Pokémon games, trading card games, and other related releases. Starting in 2004, this event has become increasingly popular, attracting a large number of participants. The most recent championship was held in Hawaii in 2012, drawing in over 1600 players who registered for the competition. Additionally, the livestream of the event garnered an average of more than two million viewers per day.

The annual Pokémon World Championships have taken place in various countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. However, this year, the event is being held in Japan for the first time. In the previous year, our writer Joshua Yehl shared his experience of participating in the most challenging Pokémon tournament in the world. Joshua, along with our guides editor Casey DeFreitas, attended the championships once again this year, so we can anticipate more extensive coverage of this year's event in the near future.

Kat Bailey is the News Director at Xgamingserver and also co-hosts the podcast Nintendo Voice Chat. If you have any tips, you can send her a direct message on Twitter at @the_katbot.

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