June 30, 2022




3 min read

HEIDI SCHUBERT WRITES — A brand new Netflix sequence referred to as “Squid Sport” is a well-liked, ultraviolent drama by which individuals participate in a deadly sport derived from conventional youngsters’s actions. In doing so, it supplies a window into how South Korean individuals would possibly behave in the direction of each other and what they’ll do to thrive or, on this occasion, survive.

Individuals can’t appear to get sufficient of it. Perhaps that’s as a result of this commentary might be utilized to the tradition of nations past South Korea.

Within the sequence, a whole bunch of characters from South Korea’s most deprived populations, together with a debt-ridden mum or dad, a North Korean defector, and a migrant manufacturing facility employee compete in youngsters’s actions, like Tug of Warfare, within the hopes of incomes about $38 million in prize cash. The twist to this nine-episode sequence: whereas the script makes it clear that these video games are watched and financed by the idle prosperous in South Korea’s inhabitants, shedding contributors are killed.

‘Squid Sport’ has grow to be a sizzling political subject in South Korea since its Sept. 17 premiere, and, as Deadline famous, it swiftly rose to Netflix’s High 10 rankings within the United States- the primary Korean program to take action. And it has grow to be a worldwide success.

In keeping with Areum Jeong, a Korean cinema specialist at Sichuan College-Pittsburgh Institute, the narrative has struck a chord with South Koreans who’re outraged by growing monetary disparity in considered one of Asia’s wealthiest international locations.

The recognition of the topic has impressed politicians from all sides of the political spectrum in South Korea to attempt to money in on the success of ‘Squid Sport.’


The sequence has been utilized by potential and precise presidential candidates to criticize one different. The general public in flip has used one such touch upon a rising controversy about how the son of a well-connected politician got here into a substantial sum of money. Particularly, Lee Jae-Myung, front-runner to characterize the center-left Democratic Occasion, steered {that a} new competitors was happening amongst conservatives in South Korea, which he dubbed the ” 5 billion-won sport.” He gave the impression to be alluding to an occasion that surfaced of a right-wing lawmaker’s son who gained 5 billion gained in funds after quitting an asset administration agency.

Extra to the purpose: Conservatives have usually referred to ‘Squid Sport’ of their speeches. For instance, a situation from the present by which a feminine competitor clasps her arms round a gangster bully and leaps over a bridge reminded Hong Joon-Pyo, a conservative Individuals Energy Occasion presidential candidate, of a “specific politician,” he claimed. This remark additionally would appear to be a reference to Lee Jae-Myung, who has been publicly accused of abruptly ending an extramarital affair with a famend actress.

Huh Kyung-young, a small get together chief who has campaigned on populist themes up to now, stated that ‘Squid Sport’ encapsulates the present Korean mentality: Enemies on all sides, ostracization, destruction, hazard and being caught in a tradition with grave monetary issues from which they will’t escape. Is that this actually how South Koreans view their nation?

Given its astounding success, it’s no shock that many politicians are utilizing the recognition of ‘Squid Sport’ to attraction to the residents of South Korea. One wonders: When the sequence ends, onto what different fashionable cultural attraction will they align themselves?


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