Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.
So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.
Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko expertly weaves a rich tapestry of a family grappling with class and cultural displacement into a masterpiece. Exquisitely drawn, Lee’s sprawling epic highlights the singular pain of searching for home while struggling to assimilate amid a backdrop of war and strife in both a unified Korea and Japan. Each character’s movement toward building a hopeful life is filled with the same twist of chance as the titular parlor game itself.