Pachinko is an upcoming American drama limited series created by creator Soo Hugh, co-creator of the American horror drama anthology television series Terror. It is directed and produced by Kogonada, director of Columbus and After Yangand Justin Chon, presenter and director of blue bayouwith Kogonada and Chon directing four episodes each. Pachinko is based on the bestselling New York historical fiction epic novel of the same name by Min Jin Lee. In 2017, the novel received critical acclaim, gaining millions of readers. In a review of The Guardianthey described the novel and wrote, “Vivid and immersive, Pachinko is a rich tribute to a people that history seems intent on erasing.” Pachinko is a moving story that should definitely be on your watch list. The TV adaptation of the book is set to premiere on Apple TV+ on March 25, 2022, and here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming series.
Pachinko follows the story of a Korean immigrant family told over four generations. It focuses on the family’s journey as they leave their homeland and try their best to survive in Japan. The storyline moves through a timeline starting in 1910 during the Japanese colonization era and culminating in 1989. The title of the series and book is based on the low-stakes form of gambling popular in Japan, Pachinko , from which it derives its major themes. Hollywood journalist described the main themes of the series saying, “Pachinko is a harrowing portrait of suffering balanced against an uplifting story of family resilience and feminine strength.” It centers on the life of Sunja, the heroine of the story. Her story is told through three timelines as a young girl growing up in Korea during Japanese rule, a young woman in the 1920s, and an elderly woman in the 1980s. As a Korean woman living in Japan at that time, the Sunja’s story is filled with struggles as she walks the path to triumph. The series is filled with heartbreaking performances with storytelling that crosses cultural boundaries. In an interview with vanity lounge, Showrunner Hugh shared that one of the inspirations for the adaptation is The Godfather movie. “The spotlight that interests me is the question of survival, but at what cost?” she shared. She further explained, saying, “When you’re someone who grows up without a safety net, your choices and the ramifications of those choices are so different from those who have that safety net. It tests the moral strength of all our characters – yes, you can live, but how far are you willing to go? »
It has three languages
English is not the dominant language used in Pachinko. Most of the dialogue is in Korean and Japanese. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, creator Soo Hugh shared, “I don’t understand how you could tell the story of colonization any other way because language is part of it,” he added, “I just don’t think you can. possibly doing this story without doing the three languages.” Compared to this, vanity lounge shared in their article on by pachinko possible breakthrough saying, “When the eight-episode first season debuts in March, Pachinko could break through one of the remaining barriers in the American television space as a show told primarily in a foreign language and featuring an almost entirely Asian (of the 637 cast members, 95% are Asian).
Pachinko features an ensemble cast featuring both veteran actors and newcomers. Oscar winner Youn Yuh-jung plays the current Sunja, the main protagonist. Besides his recent Oscars, his accolades also include a Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA Award, Independent Spirit Award, and nomination for a Critics’ Choice Movie Award. The veteran actress has starred in numerous South Korean TV dramas and movies, and if you watched her Oscar-winning performance in minarifor which she won Best Supporting Actress, you definitely don’t want to miss her performance in the upcoming series.
Kim Minha and Jeon Yu-na
The other actors who will play the lead role of Sunja are Kim Min-ha, with the series being her first performance, playing the teenage version of Sunja while 10-year-old Jeon Yu-na plays Sunja as a child.
One of Korea’s leading actors and the most followed South Korean actor on social media, Lee Min-ho stars as Koh Hansu, a Korean fish merchant and broker living in Japan who is not what ‘he seems to be. Lee has appeared in several Korean dramas and movies playing lead roles and is best known for his roles in Boys Over Flowers, The Heirs, The Legend of the Blue Sea, and The King: Eternal Monarch.
Other cast members
Jin Ha plays Solomon Baek, Sunja’s grandson who works for a giant international corporation. Jin is best known for his appearance in the drama Developersthe anthology series modern loveand the Broadway musical hamilton like Aaron Burr. The cast also includes Steve Sang-Hyun Noh (Sense8) as Isak, Anna Sawai (Fast and Furious 9) as Naomi, Jimi Simpson (Westworld) as Tom Andrews, Junwoo Han (Sense8) like Yoseb and Eun Chae Jung (nobody’s daughter) as a young Kyunghee. In a review of rolling stone, they praised the show’s aesthetic and musical score, saying, “Pachinko is technically impressive on every level – it’s visually stunning, with a knockout score by Nico Muhly. The show is equally beautiful to watch in every era it covers, with the lush greens of Sunja’s pastoral childhood just as vivid as the cold blues of Solomon’s modern world. In the same article, they praised Pachinko’s storytelling and wrote, “Pachinko makes it clear that where our people come from and what they’ve been through is still part of who we are in the present. And it delivers that message with a force of precision throughout. Don’t miss it. IndieWire also wrote a review saying, “This idea of having clear insight into certain parts of the past and only being able to grasp others seems fundamental to the idea of a shared family history. This makes “Pachinko” a lovingly crafted paradox, one worth surrendering to.