How Korean Drama ‘Pachinko’ Is Making Waves In Tattoo Design

Pachinko is Apple’s most compelling K-drama. The acclaimed drama based on the bestselling novel by Min Jin Lee, in the series created by Soo Hugh, which is called “one of the best adaptations of all time”.

The series was recently picked up for a second season (the first season finale debuted on April 29). Hugh is also creating a new Apple Original series called White Darkness.

With May being Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Monthacknowledging the contributions of the AAPI community, it’s no surprise that Pachinko is one of the most talked about series on Apple TV+.

Pachinko – told in three languages, Korean, Japanese and English – tells the story of a Korean immigrant family spanning four generations. They leave their homeland in South Korea during the Japanese occupation, survive World War II and discrimination. The story is told through the eyes of Sunja, a matriarch who triumphs against thick and thin.

At the show’s world premiere in Los Angeles, actor Jin Ha caused a stir by wearing traditional Hanbok, South Korea’s formal attire, on the red carpet. vogue Called him “bring the traditional korean style to the world premiere.”

As the actor explained in an interview with Squire“I grew very familiar with hanboks; we often wear them for family events or traditional gatherings in Korea,” he said. “I’ve always loved female hanbok. The colors, the design, the patterns, everything was so captivating. I felt like it was the perfect event for me to finally wear a hanbok. It seemed very relevant to the story we were telling and to the women we were honoring at Pachinko.

Eunjung Hwang, a 28-year-old artist who goes by the nickname, Eunyu Tattoouses symbols from the show, such as the Mungunghwa—South Korea’s national flower—with butterflies and the EunJangdo, a knife women would carry for protection, as the basis for a new series of tattoos. “Butterflies symbolize splendor and hope,” says Hwang. “Using images based on Pachinko accessories for tattoos celebrates traditional Korean clothing and accessories.”

She adds, “The value of these traditional objects is like heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation, just like the themes of the show. Many symbols are eternally beautiful, so I would like to see more interest in Korean beauty in tattoos.

Hwang explains how the symbolism of the series has become an inspiration for his tattoos, and these traditional tattoos are popular with the recent release of Pachinko. Many of his clients want to honor their own ancestors in some way.

South Koreans are required to take rigorous history lessons in school. “It’s about remembering how our people overcame the sad and painful history of the colonial era and learning with the hope that the same history will not happen again in the future,” Hwang said. “I see Pachinko from the same perspective – if we learn the context of this difficult time in history on screen, we can better understand the hearts of people who had to flee Korea.”

Hwang, who has been tattooing since 2018, says the Mugunghwa, Korea’s national flower known to locals as the “rose of Sharon,” is central to the show’s promotional poster. During the world premiere of Pachinko, Mugunghwa seeds were given to visitors as a gift.

“There’s a singer who sings on the boat in episode four, who wears a shawl with a Mugunghwa flower on it,” she says. “I think it’s an expression of the heart that is never overcome. Mugunghwa is a flower loved by many Koreans.

As part of her tattoo series, she tattoos butterflies and flowers drawn from the cover drawings of the novel Pachinko, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction in 2017.

And she has a tattoo design based on the traditional Hanbok dress worn by Sunja, the main Pachinko character played by Youn Yuh-jung. “The design is based on the upper part of the Hanbok, which we call the Jeogori; showing off her curve with her ribbon and collar,” says Hwang.

Hwang also inks EunJangdo, a small decorative knife that women wore for protection (men also wore it). “It was used to protect people from dangerous situations, but in everyday life it was also used for practical purposes, like cutting fruit,” she says, noting that it plays a part in a scene. tragedy of the fourth episode of the first season. .

She also tattoos a kind of butterfly that “is often used as a design for ornaments and Hanbok,” says Hwang, and the Noriage, a Korean lucky ornament that women wear hanging from their traditional dresses.

“I feel like I’m reimagining the country’s past by doing tattoo designs using traditional Korean ornaments, traditional clothes, and flowers that represent Korea,” Hwang says. “The design is not only historical, but focuses on the visual aspect of the beauty of these ornaments.”

The title of the book is metaphorical. The author compares life to a game of pachinko, which is a gambling game based on chance and luck (the player drops a ball through rows of pins). In the book, a character named Mozasu explains to his friend that “Life will keep pushing you, but you have to keep playing.”

Pachinko tattoos are also timeless. “Traditional Korean objects are familiar and beautiful, so they are perfect for tattoo designs,” Hwang said. “And because you can feel the classic feel at the same time, it never goes out of style.”

About Raymond A. Bentley

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