Select language, opens an overlay


Large Print - 2017 | Large print edition
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Grand Central Publishing, 2017
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781455569496
Branch Call Number: LP LEE-M
Characteristics: 746 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
large print


From Library Staff

Lee's skillful development of her characters and story lines will draw readers into a delicate and accurate portrait of Korean life in Japan in the mid-to-late 20th century.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
LPL_SarahM Apr 11, 2021

A fascinating tale following multiple generations of a Korean family as they make their way in Japan. It never dragged even though it is long-- and I appreciated that it was told in a linear style.

Apr 03, 2021

This book was eye opening as I did not know much about racism in Japan. I loved the narration of this book and how it follows one Korean family for four generations while living in Japan. Pachinko is beautifully written and touches on themes of love, family, and a struggle to survive.

Mar 26, 2021

If one is familiar with the Korean occupation by Japan, then this book is a "lite" version of what really happened during those years. For those unfamiliar, then it would be an eye opener. Korea was occupied for almost 50 years by the Japanese who forced not only their culture and language on the Korean people but forced many to change their names to Japanese ones and also destroyed much of Korean historical documentation. Though the story itself is entertaining to a degree, the underlying currents are just brushed upon. Today, Korea and Japan have a tenuous relationship because of those years of occupation and corruption on both sides resulting in not-forgotten memories. I loved the characters in the book and thought is was well written with all of the twists and turns that played out in the plot. Soon to become a Korean drama starring one of Korea's favourite actors, Pachinko is set to begin filming in Vancouver, Canada.

Mar 23, 2021

Very interesting.

Mar 20, 2021

Audrey recommendation.

Mar 19, 2021

This book was just Ok. Had a hard time getting into it.

Mar 07, 2021

Seattle times Rep Marilyn Strickland recommendation

Feb 10, 2021

Modern Mrs Darcy

Jan 09, 2021

An enthralling and informative novel that follows three generations of Koreans caught up in the colonization of Korea by Japan. The indiscriminate prejudice and abuse by the Japanese is another shameful example of Japan - in China, Korea and, not the least, of becoming an ally of Germany and their attack on Hawaii.
Events lead the young pregnant matriarch, Sunja, to leave Korea, wed a minister, and move to Japan. Hardships continue for many years - illnesses, death and a continuing struggle to rise out of extreme poverty.
Ultimately, through the ownership of Pachinko parlors, the family rises to wealth. Nevertheless, wealth is not what cements this family together; rather, it is loyalty, mutual commitment and love that is their secret weapon.
Highly worth reading.

Jan 03, 2021

If you don't like long reviews, just read the last segment. But if you enjoy wasting time like I did writing this, just keep reading:

You don't need to be a koreaboo and/or a weeb to gain interest in this story; it's a fictitious, representative novel of thousands of stories told by Korean-Japanese immigrants and their descendants (best of both worlds? possibly). In this novel, Min Jin Lee writes the tale of several generations through one Korean family line over various life circumstances, allowing readers to sympathize and follow with every character's storylines. She is amazing at writing overlapping character development as she intertwines complex issues into the story. The plot is devoted to a genuine issue among Korean-Japanese immigrants and descendants who suffer from discrimination of being a "zainichi", a Japanese slang term referring to "foreign resident staying in Japan". The novel took about a week to read and I was amazed at the author's expertise the entire time. Though this story stood with Lee for nearly 30 years, it was definitely time well spent writing.

-book = good.
-compatible for (non-) koreaboos and weebs /s
-centralized around discrimination among Korean-Japanese citizens
-there is some gambling. some drinking. lots of sex. just the good stuff.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Feb 19, 2020

carolinemichelle thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add Notices
Aug 23, 2017

Sexual Content: explicit sexual content


Add a Quote
Aug 23, 2019

Yoseb could understand the boy’s anger, but he wanted another chance to talk to him, to tell Noa that a man must learn to forgive—to know what is important, that to live without forgiveness was a kind of death with breathing and movement.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at TPL

To Top