Cover Here are the cast members ‘Pachinko’ (Photo: Apple TV+)

Pachinko is the highly-anticipated series from Apple TV+, based on the acclaimed novel by Min Jin Lee. Here, we break down the cast who are bringing the characters to the screen

Apple TV+’s Pachinko is based on the best-selling 2017 name of the same name by Korean American author Min Jin Lee. It chronicles the hopes and dreams of four generations of a Korean immigrant family, mainly through the eyes of the character Sunja.

The television adaptation is set to be epic in scope and intimate in tone, starting with a forbidden love story that crescendos into a sweeping saga that journeys between Korea, Japan and America.

Ahead of the eight-episode series’s release on March 25, we break down the sprawling cast that mixes an Oscar winner, established stars and newcomers.

Don’t miss: Watch the Trailer for Apple TV+’s ‘Pachinko’ Starring Lee Min-Ho and Youn Yuh-Jung

Youn Yuh-jung

Legendary Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung plays older Sunja in Pachinko. She boasts a career that spans over five decades, taking on memorable roles in over 80 television series and close to 30 feature films for which she has won numerous awards including the Blue Dragon Awards, the Asian Film Awards, the BAFTAs, SAG Awards and the Academy Awards.

Audiences around the world best know Youn for her role as Soonja, the feisty grandmother in Minari. For her performance, she became the first Korean to win an acting award in the Academy’s 93-year history.

“Yuh-jung was a gift to us—a legend, a brilliant actress and an anchor for everything in the show,” says executive producer Michael Ellenberg.

“She brings a wit, an intelligence, a command and charisma that’s mesmerising,” he adds.

Lee Min-ho

South Korean superstar Lee Min-ho is taking on the role of Hansu Koh in Pachinko, a wealthy fish broker. He falls in love with teenage Sunja.

Lee Min-ho is one of South Korea’s most versatile stars, being an actor, singer, creator and businessman. His breakthrough came in 2009 when he took on the role of Gu Jun-pyo in the South Korean remake of the hit drama Boys Over Flowers. His performance earned him a Best New Actor award at the Baeksang Arts Awards and rocketed him to fame.

Lee’s recognition grew and he became one of South Korea’s most sought-after actors. With that, a series of increasingly challenging television roles followed City Hunter and The Heirs.

Showrunner Soo Hugh describes Lee as “so detail-oriented and so dedicated to working towards the whole story. He worked so hard, went so far beyond his comfort zone and was one of the hardest workers on this show.”

See also: Fendi Welcomes Lee Min-Ho as Its New Korean Brand Ambassador

Kim Min-ha

Kim Min-ha plays teenage Sunja, the lover of Lee’s Hansu. Pachinko marks the second professional acting role for the Korean actress and her first in a US production. She made her on screen debut in the Korean short film Main Street which won Best Romantic Comedy Short at the 2020 Indie Short Fest.

Kim beat out many actresses—new and established ones—for the role of teenage Sunja. “She was emotional, but in a different way. Watching the tape, you just wanted to lean in—you felt something,” says director Kogonda.

“She never seemed concerned about the presentation of emotion. Her performance felt very authentic. I really think that hers is a stunning debut” he adds.

Read also: Who Are the Biggest Korean Drama Breakout Stars of 2021?

Jin Ha

Jin Ha plays Solomon Baek, Sunja’s grandson. Jin Ha is currently performing on Broadway as Aaron Burr in Hamilton: An American Musical. His other additional stage credits include Song Liling in the Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly.

For television, Ha has starred in the limited series, Devs and Love Life.

Anna Sawai

Anna Sawai plays Naomi, an employee at Sheffield’s office in Japan who works alongside Solomon.

Sawai is quickly establishing herself as a must-watch rising star. In addition to Pachinko, she’ll next be seen in Shogun, an adaptation of James Clavell’s best-selling novel of the same name.

In 2021, Sawai starred in Justin Lin’s blockbuster F9 and also in the Netflix television series Giri-Haji. Outside of acting, Sawai is one of the founding members of the Japanese pop group FAKY.

See also: 12 Must-Watch Japanese Dramas on Netflix

Steve Sanghyun Noh

Steve Sanghyun Noh is playing the role of Isak, Sunja’s husband. Noh appeared in the French drama Dragon Race for which he earned a Best Actor nomination in the drama division of the Dublin International Film Festival.

Since then, he’s appeared in films such as Money, Fight Hard, Love Hard 2 and 300-Year-Old Class of 2020. Other than Pachinko, Noh will next be seen in the Korean drama, Bloody Romance.

Talking about Noh, director Justin Chon says “a lot of his character is internal and portraying that takes a lot of skill and confidence.” 

Jung Eun-chae

Jung Eun-chae is playing the role of young Kyung-hee, Sunja’s sister-in-law.

Jung is best known for her roles in The Great Battle, The Guest and The King: Eternal Monarch, for which she previously worked with Lee Min-ho.

See also: The Story Behind The Jewellery Worn on Netflix's ‘The King: Eternal Monarch’

Jeong In-ji

Jeong In-ji is playing Yangjin, Sunja’s mother.

Jeong is best known for her work in theatre and musicals such as Islander, Marie Curie, Demain, Nan-Seol and Me, Natasha, and a White Donkey. Outside of the stage, she has appeared in the drama, Lung.

Jimmi Simpson

Jimmi Simpson is playing Tom Andrews, a bank executive in Tokyo who works with Solomon and Naomi. Simpson’s performances actors film and television have seen him nominated for a Primetime Emmy, a BAFTA and three Screen Actor Guild awards.

His film roles include Zodiac and The Invention of Lying and acclaimed dramas such as 24, CSI: Crime Since Investigation and House of Cards.

Han Jun-woo

Han Jun-woo is playing Yoseb, Kyung-hee’s husband, Isak’s older brother and Sunja’s brother-in-law.

Han is fast becoming a name to watch in global cinema. Having made his acting debut at 19 in Mr Go, he has since appeared in Be Melodramatic, My Unfamiliar Family and Extreme Job.

See also: Meet the Cast of ‘Turning Red’, Pixar’s First Asian-Led Movie

Kaho Minami

Kaho Minami is playing the role of Etsuko, the girlfriend of Solomon’s father Mozasu.

Minami is born in Japan and is of third-generation Korean descent. For her debut film, Kaho was chosen from among 2,200 contestants who auditioned for the main role in For Kanako. She made her theatrical debut as Juliet in Romeo & Juliet and has since appeared in many projects in theatre, film and television.

Soji Arai

Soji Arai is playing the role of Mozasu, Solomon’s father and Sunja’s son.

Arai is the son of second-generation Korean Japanese (zainichi) parents. After graduating from Waseda University, Arai did theatre and made an impact in Bent as Max. In 2009, he starred in The Ramen Girl and was most recently seen in the Netflix series Cobra Kai

Jeon Yu-na

Jeon Yu-na is playing the role of young Sunja which is also her first acting role. Showrunner Soo Hugh describes Yu-na as “one of the most natural performers [she has] ever seen.”

Read also: Meet the Cast of ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’


‘Pachinko’ premieres on March 25, exclusively on Apple TV+.

Tatler Asia
© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.