This year has seen several excellent Korean dramas, such as Twenty Five Twenty One, All of Us Are Dead, and now Pachinko, starring Lee Min-ho, which is extremely different from the regular dramas. It depicts the difficult era in Korean history when the nation was taken over by Japan – a devastating moment in many Koreans’ lives that made Lee Min-ho “devastated” when he sat down to study his character.
Lee Min-ho attempted to comprehend the “passion and mood” of the age depicted by Pachinko.
In the Apple TV+ series, he portrays the fish dealer Koh Hansu, who falls in love with the young Sun-Ja (Kim Min-ha) but cannot marry her since she is pregnant with his kid. This has a tremendous impact on her destiny, as she becomes a Korean immigrant in Japan, raising a family of four generations who suffer discrimination designated for non-natives of the country.
Lee Min-ho recently spoke with The Korea Times about how he viewed the “depth” of Pachinko and how it influenced him. While every drama attempts to represent genuine feelings and relevant situations, he admits that his new series is “distinct in terms of its depth,” prompting him to “concentrate on understanding the heart and sentiment of the people from that age.”
“We are fortunate to be living in this epoch.” There were no options and no space to imagine a brighter future back then. I could relate to what Hansu said and the actions Sun-ja made.”
He continued, saying:
“I attempted to look at the photographs from that period, and what struck me the most was the lack of pictures of Koreans laughing.” It grieved to realize that there were no goals and ambitions, simply individuals who were just getting by.”
In another interview, actress Kim Min-ha claimed that she studied the “horror” anecdotes in the book on which the drama is based for research for the part. She also spoke with Zainichi Koreans (Japanese for Korean immigration), who agreed that the book has “no distortion or embellishment” of their history. Pachinko continues to get excellent feedback, indicating that the performers’ efforts have paid off. Every Friday, the program airs on Apple TV+.