Pachinko Starring Lee Min-ho and Kim Min-ha premiered on Apple TV+ on March 2022. Based on the novel with the same title written by Lee Min-jin, and directed by Justin Chon, Pachinko is maybe one of the most anticipated dramas from the first half of 2022. The filming of the drama started in October 2020 and ended in April 2021. Consisting of 8 episodes, the first season of the TV series received a very high score on Rotten Tomatoes. In addition, the drama has been dubbed as a sweeping epic that captures the arc of history as well as the enduring bonds of family. Pachinko, a story about identity search and love, will touch your soul in unexpected ways.
The author of Pachinko, Min Jin Lee, was born in Seoul, South Korea and emigrated to the United States when she was only 7. She made a name for herself in 2007 when she published her first novel Free Food for Millionaires. The novel was very well received by critics.
As you will notice while reading the book or watching the drama, the author uses many biblical references to express complex ideas, reflecting her own religious background. Moreover, she explained in an interview that she got inspiration from biblical stories depicting the fight between good and evil.
Pachinko General Info
No. of episodes: 8(first season)
Themes: family life, war, love, identity search
Title: “pachinko” refers to an arcade game originating in Japan(used as a gambling device by some people)
Filming locations: Mokpo, New York, British Columbia
Engaging Plot and Incredible Acting
Since I already read the book and watched the first episodes of the drama, I can say that the screen adaptation of Pachinko is extremely engaging. there are no scenes that will make you feel like pausing an episode to scroll through social media. I actually started to watch Pachinko just for fun, but I fell for the main characters’ incredible acting skills and the historical accuracy of the plot. I am so impressed that this TV series manages to depict in detail Korean society back in 1915, under the Japanese occupation.
Main themes in “Pachinko”
Pachinko is a marvelous novel/drama about identity, family, and love during the turbulent era of Japanese colonialism. Can war and political instability make people give up on their true identity? Can people coming from two different worlds overcome hardships and love each other? Whenever people gain power and influence, will they become corrupt as well? Pachinko raises a series of sensitive questions related to Korean society and norms. One of the most important topics presented in the drama is the life of the Zainichi. Zainichi are a Korean ethnic group living in Japan, who struggle to adapt to a new world, facing endless trials.
Lee Min-ho and Kim Min-ha did a great job portraying the main characters. Also, the whole production team managed to create a wonderful adaptation following the storyline created by Min-jin Lee, the author of Pachinko. Do I recommend watching it? Definitely! It will be an unforgettable experience for anyone who does. It may be the best production of the year.
As a huge fan of Korean culture, with a degree in Korean studies, I must admit that Pachinko does a great job of providing a clear historical context for viewers. If one wants to fully understand Korea, first he must understand its painful past and sorrows. The colonial period remains one of the cruelest periods in Korean history. Therefore, if you want to gain a better understanding of the Korean identity, then I strongly suggest you watch this drama.
What about you? Have you started watching Pachinko? What is the scene that left a deep impression on you and why? Let us know your opinion! If you want to know more about Pachinko before you start watching the series, Click Here.