Why Apple TV’s Pachinko Begins Every Episode With A Joyous Dance Number

Showrunner Soo Hugh explained her reasons behind the title sequence: 

“I wanted one moment where characters of the past and present come together to dance with unfettered joy, honoring the enduring human spirit.” 

On a show where everyone seems to be going through some of the most intense periods of their lives, it feels like such a breath of fresh air to see them letting loose together. As Hugh put it, “‘Let’s Live for Today’ celebrates those moments when we can take stock of where we’ve come from and where we are going while also taking that much-needed breath to appreciate the present.” And as the scene where Sunja returns home in “Chapter 4” makes clear, those moments are very much what this show is all about. 

As for the decision to set the sequence in the middle of the pachinko parlor? It feels particularly fitting considering author Min Jin Lee’s reasons for choosing the title when writing the source material. Originally the book was titled “Motherland,” but she changed it to “Pachinko” after realizing just how often the Korean-Japanese people she interviewed were related to the pachinko business in some way. “Pachinko is a game of chance and manipulation,” she explained. It’s a gambling game with a lot of loss and pain involved, as well as rare, seemingly unlikely moments of triumph. “I was interested in this gambling business as a metaphor,” Lee said. 

It was announced this April that “Pachinko” has been renewed for a second season. We don’t know when season 2 will air exactly, but at least we know we’ll get to see that delightful title sequence again sometime next year.

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