Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Let me start by telling you what pachinko is: pachinko is a Japanese game similar to pinball and people bet on it like they do on slot machines here in the U.S.


If you have ever played pinball then you know that there is a lot hitting a little ball with two flippers and trying to get the highest score you can before it you lose it to the black hole between the two flippers.


Synopsis: That's pretty much what happens to this Korean-Japanese family through this book. The story of the Baek family is told over three generations starting out in Korea before the second world war and ending in Japan sometime in the 70s.


Likes: My favorite part about Pachinko was learning about the history between Korea and Japan. Prior to reading this book I didn't know that there was such enmity between the two cultures. At least during that time. Mostly it is due to Japan taking over Korea during the war and many Koreans moving to Japan to escape poverty then being looked down upon by the Japanese.


Through the family's story some of them try to pretend they aren't Korean, others want very badly to be Japanese and in the end what defines them is not so much where they were born but who they are and what they do. Those who realize that "win" and those who don't, well, it doesn't go to well for them.


Dislikes: I didn't like how awkward the romantic scenes were or how the women kept saying "a woman's lot is to suffer."


Rating: 🍵🍵🍵 out 5


If you're looking for a historical read and greater insight to Korean-Japanese relationships, then Pachinko is the book for you.

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