Behind the ambitious adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s novel, “Pachinko,” 20 historical consultants from the United States, Korea and Japan, numerous translators four executive producers, two directors, two cinematographers, and 637 cast members, 95% of whom are Asian, worked to bring the epic novel to life.
Directors Kogonada and Justin Chon split the first season in half, each directing four episodes. Showrunner Soo Hugh and Co-Executive Producers Michael Ellenberg and Theresa Kang-Lowe went to great lengths to pitch the show, and now the eight-episode first season is rolling out. Filmed in locations across seven Korean cities, Japan and Vancouver, British Columbia, “”Pachinko” follows the generational advance of a family from Korea to Japan to the United States.
Avid readers of Lee’s novel as well as those with Korean and Japanese film backgrounds, or anyone looking for a beautiful and heartbreaking story may be wondering how to watch “Pachinko.” All of the details, including the stacked ensemble cast, are below:
When Does “Pachinko” Premiere?
“Pachinko” debuted with its first three episodes on Friday, March 25, 2022.
Where Is “Pachinko” Streaming?
“Pachinko” is streaming exclusively on Apple TV+. New episodes roll out weekly on Fridays until the season finale on April 29.
What Is “Pachinko” About?
At the heart of the story is Sunja, a young girl raised by two loving parents who run a boarding house in Yeongdo, a seaside district in Busan, South Korea. As Sunja grows up, she learns the ins and outs of life from her hard-working mother. When Sunja is older and shopping at the market she used to frequent as a child, she catches the eye of new manager, Koh Hansu, who minds the fish market and makes sure business goes smoothly.
Hansu and Sunja grow close, and not soon after they become more than friends — Sunja gets pregnant with Hansu’s child. Hansu then tells her that he already has a wife in Osaka, Japan, so he cannot marry Sunja, but he still wants to care for her and his child. Sunja refuses his offer and goes to tell her mother, much in fear and shame, but as she is about to tall Yangjin, Isak, a young religious student, shows up at the boarding house barely alive because he has contracted tuberculosis in his long travels through South Korea to Japan.
Isak overhears the exchange between Sunja and her mother about what to do now that Sunja is pregnant and the father won’t marry her. He considers all that Sunja and Yangjin have done for him, and he offers to marry Sunja because he feels that they saved his life.
The series unfolds in different timelines, telling this epic story across multiple generations.
Who Is in the “Pachinko” Cast?
The series stars Soji Arai, Jin Ha, Inji Jeong, Minha Kim, Lee Minho, Kaho Minami, Steve Sanghyun Noh, Anna Sawai, Jimmi Simpson, and Youn Yuh Jung.
Youn Yuh Jung, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in “Minari” (2020), plays the older version of Sunja.
The childhood version of Sunja is played by young actress Yu-Na Jeon.
Minha plays teenage and young adult Sunja.
Popular Korean actor Lee Minho stars as Koh Hansu, a business man who falls in love with Sunja, but complicates her life.
Jin Ha, the “Hamilton” breakout, plays Sunja’s grandson Solomon, who works at an American bank.
Anna Sawai plays Naomi, a coworker of Solomon’s.
Soji Arai plays Mozasu, Sunja’s second son and Solomon’s father.
Steve Sanghyun Noh plays Isak, Sunja’s second love and husband, and Mozasu’s father.
Jimmi Simpson plays Solomon’s bank boss Tom.
Inji Jeong plays Sunja’s mother Yangjin.
Kaho Minami plays Mozasu’s second girlfriend Etsuko, whose daughter Hana (Mari Yamamoto) had a close relationship with Solomon when they were younger.