Squid Game has become a global hit, but the nine-episode Netflix series touches a different feeling in South Korea.
The South Korean survival game is a massive success that those who have not watched it would not be able to hold a conversation because everyone is talking about the hit Netflix K-drama. However, the movie strikes a nerve because it exposes South Korea in a different light.
Squid Game Exposes South Korea's Real Problem
Squid Game features 456 individuals from all walks of life, fighting for 45.6 billion won ($38 million) in a bid to pay all of their debts. All of them, except for player 001, has been struggling with debt. They didn't know that the elimination from the game meant death.
The series exposes South Korea's problem with debt and the never-ending struggle to pay it off, NBC News reported.
"There's this dissonance between Korean pride that this Korean show is dominating Netflix all around the world, and the discomfort with what the show appears to expose about Korea," said CedarBough Saeji, an assistant professor of Korean and East Asian Studies at Pusan National University in Busan, South Korea.
"Koreans love to be No. 1, but No. 1 at the cost of kind of airing your dirty laundry is a somewhat different thing."
Netflix's Squid Game Represents South Koreans In Worst Situations
South Koreans have different reactions to the hit Netflix series.
The street vendor in Seoul who provided the Squid Game production with the sugar candy told Reuters the movie helped grow his business.
Park Sae-ha, senior studying economics at Yonsei University in Seoul, found the show "spell-binding because it was so explicit and blunt."
According to her, even if she is so young, she could easily relate to the "hard reality of a very competitive society."
South Koreans' nature to be competitive could be one of the reasons the country has been so successful. It has been experiencing a period of rapid industrialization since the 1960s.
Unfortunately, houses pricing have been rising, and many Koreans borrow money to invest in cryptocurrency. They start by borrowing from legitimate financial institutions, according to Koo Se-Woong, a commentator on Korean culture based in Germany. However, some move on to second-tier lenders who charge higher interests.
In worst-case scenarios, they turn to loan sharks who offer easy money but triple-digit interest rates, which seems to be Gi-hun (Lee Jung Jae) and the rest of the participants' case in Squid Game who chose to join the game instead of returning to their normal lives.
"And then you are pushed into situations from which you really cannot get out," he added.
Koo also said, "When you look at the characters in the show who are participating in this game, they represent that demographic of the Koreans who are in the worst possible situation because of their personal debt."
Meanwhile, there have been speculations that Netflix might order Squid Game Season 2 due to the undeniable success of the original series. Avid followers of the survival-themed show also think that there are numerous storylines to be explored.
Though there have been rumors that Squid Game Season 2 might happen in 2022, it should be noted that Netflix has not yet released any official statement to confirm that these speculations are true. Director Hwang Dong Hyuk previously shared that it took him a long time to finish Squid Game, which means that making Season 2 may also take years before completion.
So, all these hearsays about the yet-to-be-confirmed Squid Game Season 2 should be taken lightly until everything is proven true and correct.
Stay tuned to EpicStream for the latest news and updates about Squid Game!