‘Pachinko’ Cast Preview An Epic Story of Love, Loss, and Laughter Among the Tears

Pachinko

AppleTV+’s Pachinko is an impressive series, carefully crafted to tell the story of four generations of a family whose lives are caught up in events taking them from South Korea to Japan.

The secret ingredient to what makes this series engrossing and heartfelt is the nuanced performances by an extraordinary cast, helmed by South Korean superstar Lee Min Ho alongside newcomer Minha Kim and Oscar-winning Yuh-Jung Youn, as well as showcasing the gifted talents of co-stars Jin Ha, Eunchae Jung, Steve Sanghyun Noh, Soji Arai, Junwoo Han, and Kaho Minami. As the ‘Pachinko’ tale unfolds, each character draws the audience in so much that viewers will want to spend more time with them.

Pachinko starts off by focusing on the sweeping romance of Sunja (Minha Kim) and Hansu (Lee Min Ho), a self-determined young woman and a world-savvy businessman, who fall in love and then follows the path of their pragmatic life choices that shape the two generations of children and grandchildren.

Pachinko deftly weaves Sunja and Hansu’s love story among the flashforward fates of Sunja and Hansu’s son Noa and his half-brother Mozasu, while interweaving the life of Sunja’s grandson Solomon, whose own fate is closely linked to the events of the prior generations’ cruel circumstances.

Pachinko cast

The Hollywood Premiere of Pachinko

While on the red carpet for the Hollywood premiere of AppleTV+’s new drama series Pachinko, cast members Eunchae Jung, Junwoo Han, Steve Sanghyun Noh, and Soji Arai provided insight into the epic 4-generational story set among a family desperate to survive, while still honoring their love for each other and tenaciously pursuing their own dreams.

Eunchae Jung

Eunchae Jung

Eunchae Jung (also known professionally as Jung Eun-chae) portrays the young Kyunghee, whose story intersects at a critical time period for Sunja, when Sunja desperately needs someone who would stand by her and provide the emotional support she would need as she created a new life for her family.

Kyunghee is a young wife herself and her generosity and compassion are exactly the solace and comfort that Sunja needed most. During interviews on the red carpet at the premiere, Eunchae Jung provided her insight into her character and the series:

Can you tell us a little bit more about your character Kyunghee? This is an amazing role since this is such a soft role compared to the character you portrayed in THE KING: ETERNAL MONARCH. It is a character with a lot of heart, who helps connect with other characters. What do you like and appreciate about Kyunghee?

EUNCHAE JUNG: She is very warm-hearted, kind and so generous. She is good to everyone. I really like her because she changes her character slightly after meeting Sunja and their relationship. It allows her to finally get to know herself: what she really thinks, and what she really likes and hates. She really grows up throughout the story. So I really love her and I can’t wait to see how she changed after Season 1.

Kyunghee and Sunja’s relationship is pivotal throughout the entire series. How would you describe your relationship with Minha Kim?

EUNCHAE JUNG: I have an older brother and I always wanted to have a sister in my life, and after meeting Minha [who portrays Sunja], we just bonded with each other instantly. We have the same ideas and thoughts. I got so much inspiration from her. We always talked about our ideas before scenes and during read-throughs. It was just amazing.

It seemed like meeting each other gave both Sunja and Kyunghee a ‘voice’. Like they did not have much to say aloud before they had met each other; but once they met, they got to know each other and it gave them a chance to say what they were thinking, and after that, they had a lot more to say to others in the world. It is like they gave each other permission to voice what they wanted to say out loud — so it was like a journey to discover that they can say something and they were empowered by that.


EUNCHAE JUNG: 
When Kyunghee sees Sunja for the first time, she sees a ‘mirror’ in her. Like seeing her past years and wanting to help her more. But then time flies and Sunja becomes more like a leader to her, and she leads Kyunghee. That happens on the set too: Minha is my hero. I am much taller than her, and she’s so small, and yet I always follow her. She’s like always saying, “come here”. She’s amazing. I really love her.

They are incredible characters and I can’t wait to see where they both go in the second season.


EUNCHAE JUNG: 
[Laughs] Me too!

Have they given you any clues as to what could happen in Season 2 with your characters?


EUNCHAE JUNG: 
[Laughs] No, I don’t think they are going to tell us. But I want to see Kyunghee and how she grew up and her character before and then how she changed in her life and found her own emotions and thoughts, and how she became more brave and powerful.

For you, what was this experience like? What did you love about working on ‘Pachinko’?


EUNCHAE JUNG: 
It’s a story about a family with a historical background of four generations. It’s about a lot of subjects: like gender issues and its multi-cultural — like how you affect the times now — between Japan and Korea and their relationship. But I think it’s more about issues of love and hate, and faith and sacrifice, which we all deal with every day. So I am sure all the generations and genders, no matter where you are from, I am sure can get into the story straight away and fall in love with it.

How do you see Hansu? Is he the villain in the story?

EUNCHAE JUNG:
 [Laughs] I don’t think he’s the villain in the story. But it is amazing to see a different side of Minho playing Hansu. He’s a perfect match for it.

We are looking forward to seeing a bit more of that then.


EUNCHAE JUNG:
 [Laughs] Yes, please do! Have you seen the episodes?

Yes, oh yes. There is a lot of ambiguity for that role. That’s why I am asking.


EUNCHAE JUNG: 
We have gotten so many amazing critics’ reviews.

It’s an amazing show. I got the screeners on Christmas Day and spent Christmas Day watching it. That’s how good it is.


EUNCHAE JUNG: 
Thank you so much. So touching.

Junwoo Han

Junwoo Han

Junwoo Han (also known professionally as Han Joon-woo) portrays Yoseb, husband to Kyunghee and brother to Isak, although by circumstance, Kyunghee, Yoseb and Isak become Sunja’s family once she relocates from Korea to Japan.

Thus, their lives and fates become so integral and vital to each other that the only way that each will survive is by working together in spite of the hardships they encounter and endure. During interviews on the red carpet at the premiere, Junwoo Han provided insight into how he sees Yoseb and Isak’s relationship, as well as how Yoseb sees Sunja:

You portray the character of Yoseb, who is brother to Isak. What can you describe about the brothers’ relationship?

JUNWOO HAN: They have very close relationship together as brothers. Yoseb is always ready to sacrifice for Isak because they have been apart from each other for a long time, and then they get to meet again.

What is Yoseb’s impression of Sunja? It seems like he is not very fond of her initially.

JUNWOO HAN: I think that is the most important thing about this story — it’s more about the relationship between Yoseb and Sunja — and he doesn’t like her that much. Becoming family with a total stranger all of a sudden, I think that dynamic is pretty interesting.

For you, what was the draw of this project? What excited you?

JUNWOO HAN: I get to be a part of a unique part of the story about family and ancestors — fathers and grandfathers. It’s a profound story, mostly based on familial ties, and the human side of every aspect.

What are you looking forward to as the series progresses, as I understand the series goes beyond the first season?

JUNWOO HAN: I just hope a lot of people watch it and share in the emotions, like for their own families and grow to appreciate what they currently have.

Steve Noh

Steve Noh

Steve Sanghyun Noh (also known professionally as Steve Noh) portrays Yoseb’s brother Isak. Sunja and Isak’s relationship is one of those key relationships that propels Sunja’s life beyond the world that she was born into and carves out a place for her in a new world. During interviews on the red carpet at the premiere, Steve Noh talked about the brothers’ bond between Isak and Yoseb and how important that relationship was in ‘Pachinko’:

I love your character Isak and his relationship with Sunja. What can you share about who Isak is?

STEVE NOH: Just to give a little about his background: he’s sick. Isak grew up sick all of his life and he wants to learn about the world, but the only medium was through books and Sunja was the first time that he actually went through a big transformation of his life internally. He feels a lot of admiration for her and he is just enlightened when he meets Sunja. So Sunja is such a big part of pretty much everything, and through the journey, you will see the story of how Sunja affects Isak in every way.

Isak also has a very good relationship with his brother. How would you describe the fact that Isak goes into the political world, which endangers his brother Yoseb who he loves so much?

STEVE NOH: Away from Yoseb, Isak feels a duty to really help others. He is committed to helping others and he really feels a responsibility to get all the community together and help each other. It wasn’t his intention. He was just engaging them in the community and it just happened to put them in danger. He did not mean anything like that. He is just following his values.

Soji Arai

Soji Arai

Soji Arai (also known professionally as Sohee Park) portrays Mozasu, Sunja’s second son, and father to Solomon. Intriguingly, Mozasu, becomes the linchpin between the story of Sunja and Hansu and the subsequent generations, including Mosazu’s son Solomon. During interviews on the red carpet at the premiere, Soji Arai talked about who his character Mosazu is and the role he has to play in ‘Pachinko’:

You portray Mozasu, Solomon’s father, and it is a murky role initially. We really don’t know yet if his intentions towards his son and his family are as pure as they seem in the first season because of his business associations through the Pachinko parlors.

SOJI ARAI: Yeah, he used to have some kind of relationship with the Yakuza. But now, he is the Pachinko parlor’s owner.

Is he now trying to be a good man?

SOJI ARAI: Yes, always. He is a warrior and guardian of his family. He is a good son of Sunja and a good father of Solomon. So he cares for his family all the time.

This journey is filled with some terrifying circumstances that the characters go through. Yet they seem to find the bright spot in the middle of that. So what do you think are your character’s moments of joy, or what draws him to the light in the midst of all this?

SOJI ARAI: Mosazu is about to open his second parlor and his business is flourishing, and he is happy with his lover, and his son is coming. So he’s happy. But it feels like: what is going to happen next?

As AppleTV+’s hottest new drama series, Pachinko is the riveting tale of four generations of a family whose fate is foreshadowed by natural disaster, war, racial tension, and hostility, while enduring human exploitation and illness, and showcases their indomitable spirit to survive and thrive.

To see how each endures and the remarkable choices each makes, be sure to tune in when Pachinko premieres exclusively on Friday, March 25 on AppleTV+. The first 3 episodes are available on March 25 and then new episodes are released each Friday after that through April 29.

Photo Credit: Eric Charbonneau for AppleTV+ and Tiffany Vogt for FanBolt

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  1. I am a big fan of Pachinko Season One and your interviews with the cast make me love the international show even more.