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This is a character guide for Apple TV Plus’ “Panchinko” with character descriptions, names of actors, and more.

Please Note: This content contains pertinent spoilers, descriptions are updated as new information is presented, images are changed as better ones are captured, and this is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, guest star, or recurring role. 

General Information

Network(s) Apple TV Plus
Genre(s) DramaNon-English (Korean), Historical
Created By Soo Hugh
Based On “Pachinko” novel by Min Jin Lee
First Aired March 25, 2022
Executive Produced By Soo Hugh,  Michael Ellenberg,  Lindsey Springer, Theresa Kang-Lowe, Richard Middleton, Kogonada, and Justin Chon
Showrunner(s) Soo Hugh

Synopsis

“Pachinko” follows a Korean family through generations starting in the early 1900s with Sunja, a young and intelligent Korean woman who gets impregnated by a wealthy married man. The man says he could never marry Sunja, leaving her heartbroken. When a kind minister offers to marry Sunja and take her to Japan, Sunja quickly must grow and endure the hardships of change and loss. Meanwhile, in 1989, Sunja’s grandson Solomon returns to Japan for the first time in a decade but arrives only to close a business deal. But Sunja and Solomon’s past return to haunt them and teach them in ways unimaginable. 

Notable Locations & Items

  • Japan and South Korea: The story weaves between Sunja’s migration to Japan from South Korea and Solomon’s reliving of childhood in Japan.

Terminology

  • Zainichi People: Koreans living in Japan. They often face discrimination and systemic oppression.

Other Noteworthy Information

  • Pachinko: A mechanical arcade game that’s often used for gambling in Japan. Solomon’s father owns a pachinko parlor. 

Episode Listing

Notable Episodes

  • Chapters One and Two set up the foundation for each character; Chapter Five shows us a great epiphany for Sunja and Solomon. Chapter Seven is strictly dedicated to Hansu’s story.

Season 1

Episode Number and Title
Episode 1: Chapter One Episode 2: Chapter Two Episode 3: Chapter Three
Episode 4: Chapter Four Episode 5: Chapter Five Episode 6: Chapter Six
Episode 7: Chapter Seven Episode 8: Chapter Eight

Sunja (Youn Yuh-jung)

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Sunja is an elderly Korean woman who resides in Japan. After living a life of hardship and loss, Sunja is now content with a better life than she could have imagined. But when her grandson returns to Japan, she begins to reflect on past relationships, struggles, and how her life has led to this point.

Additional Information

  • Introduced In: 1.1 “Chapter One”
  • The actor is also known for their role in “Minari,” their role in “The Housemaid,” and their role in “The Bacchus Lady.”

Quotes

“More important than being successful is how you come by your success.”

Teen Sunja (Kim Min-ha)

pachinko 5

Teen Sunja lives in a Japan-dominated Korea, where the laws and products of her labor all favor the Japanese people occupying her homeland. After sticking up for herself at a fish market, Sunja develops an attraction to a wealthy Korean man from Japan. She finds herself fighting harder than ever before to make a good life for herself and her family.

Additional Information

  • Introduced In: 1.1 “Chapter One”
  • The actor is also known for their role in “The Call” and “Partners for Justice.”

Solomon Baek (Jin Ha)

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Solomon is a young, money-driven businessman who returns to his home in Japan to close a business deal. Solomon may not have been back in years, but he quickly yearns for the past and has a crisis of character about his own wants and future.

Additional Information

  • Introduced In: 1.1 “Chapter One”
  • The actor is also known for their role in “Devs” and “Lovelife,”

Quotes

“Your dreams, they’re just not enough for me.”

Baek Isak (Noh Sang-hyun)

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Baek Isak is a kind and patient Korean minister who offers to marry Sunja and bring her to Japan. While Baek lacks wealth, he’s constantly giving to others and believes in the best in people. Baek also has health issues that sometimes weaken him, but he remains strong in spirit.

Additional Information

  • Introduced In: 1.3 “Chapter Three”
  • The actor is also known for their role in “Love My Scent” and “Behind Every Star.”

Koh Hansu (Lee Min-ho)

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Koh Hansu is a tough yet pragmatic businessman who oversees the Korean fish market. Due to his travels and hard life, Koh takes little pity on others and scoffs at romanticism. Koh is the biological father of Sunja’s first child, Noa.

Additional Information

  • Introduced In: 1.1 “Chapter One”
  • The actor is also known for their role in “Boys Over Flowers,” their role in “Gangnam Blues,” and their role in “The King: Eternal Monarch.”

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