6 Dramas And Movies To Watch If You Love “Pachinko”

Based on Min Jin Lee’s best-selling book of the same name, “Pachinko” is a sweeping saga that chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations.

The eight-episode series is an epic and emotionally gripping story that covers two storylines concurrently. The first storyline introduces our main character, Sunja (Kim Min Ha), in 1910 during the Japanese occupation of Korea, while the second centers on Sunja’s grandson, Solomon, who works at a New York bank in 1989.

The good news is that “Pachinko” will be returning for a second season! While we wait for the series’ return, here are other shows set in similar historical eras you should definitely check out!

“Capital Scandal”

Capital Scandal” is set in the 1930s when Korea was under the rule of Japan. Seon Woo Wan (Kang Ji Hwan), the playboy son of a wealthy family, crosses paths with a determined independence activist, Na Yeo Kyung (Han Ji Min), who is the complete opposite of him. Woo Wan becomes involved in the independence movement after betting that Yeo Kyung would fall in love with him. In the process, Woo Wan falls in love with Yeo Kyung, and she also opens his eyes to the social injustice around him.

Tonally, the drama is more light-hearted than “Pachinko,” and it strikes a good balance between humor and tragedy. It’s an enjoyable watch for anyone looking for a period drama with humor, action, and romance.

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This movie takes place during the 1930’s Japanese occupation of Korea, where an assassination plot is underway to take out a pro-Japanese group. Yeom Seok Jin (Lee Jung Jae) is a Korean resistance fighter who hires Ahn Ok Yoon (Jun Ji Hyun), a skilled sniper, to carry out an assassination plot. She works with comrades Big Gun (Jo Jin Woong) and Duk Sam (Choi Duk Moon) to fight for Korea’s independence. Meanwhile, they are also hunted by contract killers Hawaii Pistol (Ha Jung Woo) and Buddy (Oh Dal Soo). With a star-studded cast and an intriguing espionage plot, “Assassination” is one action-packed movie you shouldn’t miss!

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Bridal Mask

Also set in the 1930’s, the drama follows Lee Kang To (Joo Won), an ambitious and cold Korean police officer who works for the Japanese colonists. He does this despite his mother’s disapproval, his brother’s past history with the Japanese people, and the hate he has been receiving from the Joseon people. Kang To has been tasked to capture Gaksital, a man who wears a traditional Korean bridal mask and protects the people from the Japanese colonists’ oppression and abuse of power. An unexpected encounter with Gaksital changes the trajectory of Kang To’s life.

With complex and well-developed characters, excellent story development, and a fantastic soundtrack, “Bridal Mask” is one of the most epic and mind-blowing Korean dramas set in the Japanese occupation. It will keep you at the edge of your seat and rip your heart to shreds. It’s really that good!

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Chicago Typewriter

The drama follows Han Se Joo (Yoo Ah In), a bestselling author experiencing a serious case of writer’s block. After a traumatic event, he discovers a magical typewriter that transports him to his past life during the 1930’s Japanese occupation of Korea. Soon after, he meets Jeon Seol (Im Soo Jung), an ardent fan of his, and a mysterious ghostwriter named Yoo Jin Oh (Go Kyung Pyo), who helps him with his writer’s block. The drama switches back and forth from the present to the 1930’s to slowly unveil the mystery behind the three characters and their past lives.

Chicago Typewriter” is a well-crafted and intricately woven story about love and friendship. It’s also a stirring drama that will move you. And if you enjoy a dose of fantasy in your shows, this is the perfect drama for you!

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Gunman in Joseon

The premise of “Gunman in Joseon” is interesting – the last swordmaster of the Joseon Dynasty trades his sword for a gun. The drama takes place during the Japanese Occupation era in 1876. After his father’s death and enslavement of his younger sister, Park Yoon Kang (Lee Joon Gi) embarks on his revenge mission and unwittingly becomes the hero of the people.

The cast is splendid; Lee Joon Gi, in particular, is phenomenal in his role. Cool and badass Lee Joon Gi wielding a gun in a historical drama is more than enough reason to watch the show. When you add on the exciting setup and stunning cinematography – you’re in for a treat!

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If you enjoyed Youn Yuh Jung‘s performance in “Pachinko,” you should definitely watch “Minari,” for which she won an Academy Award. Fun fact, the characters she plays in both shows are called Sunja (or Soonja), but they have vastly different personalities. “Minari” follows a South Korean couple, Jacob (Steven Yeun) and Monica (Yeri Han), who decides to move their American-born children out of the city to live in a small town in Arkansas. Jacob plans to grow Korean vegetables to sell to other immigrant families, but Monica is dubious about the success of his plan, which results in tension in their marriage.

Set in the 1980’s, “Minari” is a Korean immigrant story like “Pachinko,” and like it, it’s also a universally relatable story about family, hope, and perseverance. While it’s not as epic in scale as “Pachinko,” it’s a delicate film with a quiet strength.

Start watching “Minari”:

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Hey Soompiers! Do you have any other similar dramas and movies to recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

Bellyfull is a pop-culture junkie who enjoys a cup of tea in the morning.

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