Talk With Pachinko Author Lee Min Jin

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Min Jin Lee, the author of a New York Times Bestseller ‘Pachinko’, gave talk to Korean readers at the Sejong University on August 11, 2022, to celebrate the publication of the revised edition of the novel.

UoH attended this event, and we want to share Min Jin Lee’s views on love, freedom, and truth with you all!

As hundreds of people gathered around to listen to Min Jin Lee’s talk, she answered all the questions that many Korean readers had wanted to ask her about: her beliefs and opinions about the book and life.

Q: What does the book mean to you?

Allegory of what life is. Although life is unfair, it’s important to play the game.

Q: How were the interviews and research of Korean-Japanese people (Zainichi)?

It’s important to tell the truth and be accurate. That’s why I interviewed as many Korean-Japanese people as possible. And the book should be interesting. I threw away the first draft because I considered it boring. It’s not enough to simply list historical facts, but there must be storytelling to dive deep into the feelings and humanity.

Q: Do you think you are optimistic?

I always keep in mind that everything, good or bad, happens for a reason. Nothing is wasted. Whenever something bad happens, it can be discouraging at that time, but every single thing has formed who you are. You won’t be who you are now. Life has meaning. Everything has meaning.

Q: What does love and freedom mean to you?

Everyone is meant to be loved. Love liberates us, so love and freedom are interconnected.

Q: How do you cope with stress?

Believe in the meanings of what I experience even if they don’t come to mind at that moment.

Q: As an Asian woman, writer, and immigrant, what message do you want to convey towards discrimination, hatred, and anger?

There is a temptation to say “it’s not happening” or “just ignore it.” But, we shouldn’t do this. We need to listen to a person who speaks out. There is always a cost for those who speak out. That’s why we need to speak out as a collective action. The cost gets less with collective action.

Q: How should we educate younger generation to perceive and remember history? How can we help?

Tell the truth about what happened. History is complicated. People cannot just be divided into bad and good. We should tell the truth, even the parts that are unattractive.

And we need to know, to be treated with love and fair, you need to treat people with fair and love.

At the end, she shared two meaningful messages.

1️⃣ “Choose the important over the urgent”

2️⃣ Like Martin Luther King, Jr. said, we live in the “World House” where everyone is family and interconnected. We are the residents of the house of the world!

Wait… what is this book about? ????

‘Pachinko’ is a historical fiction that talks about the saga of a Korean family living in Korea that had to re-establish in Japan. The whole story takes place between the 1910s and the 1980s, an era of Japanese occupation of Korea, World War II, and the Korean War. Based on the novel, the Apple TV+ series ‘Pachinko’ has gained popularity throughout the world.

???? Question for UoH Friends :

(If you’ve read ‘Pachinko’)

✔️ What do you like the most about the novel? And why?

(If you haven’t read ‘Pachinko’)

✔️ What is the most recent book you’ve read? Why did you choose to read that book?

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