ABC / Actors / Directors / Historians / Writers

Pachinko adaptation by Apple TV+ translates historical sweep of Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel into high-budget K-drama

According to Hollywood Reporter, Apple TV+ beat five major rivals to win the rights to adapt Min Jin Lee’s novel, Pachinko. (Supplied: Apple TV+)

When Min Jin Lee published her multi-generational saga Pachinko in 2017, it took the literary world by storm. It landed on 75 best-of lists, was a finalist for the National Book Award — and made it into the ‘must read’ recommendations of former US president Barack Obama.

The sprawling saga of sacrifice, oppression and resilience is told through four generations of one ethnic-Korean family, pivoting around its indomitable matriarch Sunja Baek — and taking readers on a journey from Yeongdo in 1910 to Osaka in 1931 to New York and Tokyo in 1989.

Think Dickens or Tolstoy — but with yakuza and pinball parlours (more on that later).

Now the novel lands on screen — via an Apple TV+ adaptation that is high-budget, visually spectacular and features an impressive cast of famous names (including Oscar-winner Yuh-Jung Youn) and breakout stars.

Lee wasn’t involved in the adaptation — which has made some fans of the book nervous.

But reviews so far bode well, with the series being described as a “sumptuous South Korean epic like nothing else on TV” and “an elating tale of familial resilience and female strength.”

First published by the ABC on April 1. Read the rest of the story here.

Pachinko is about a woman “[with] no safety net, forced to move to a country that is not her own, and figuring out how to protect her children and put food on the table,” says showrunner Soo Hugh. (Supplied: Apple TV+)