Kang Sae Byeok: Non-korean Speakers May Overlook Squid Game’s Tragic Detail.
Spoiler From Squid Game Drama
Those individuals who do not watch the newest episode of the Squid Game on Netflix are the only ones who are at a disadvantage in the real world.
However, practically every character who we come to care about throughout the course of the narrative meets a tragic end. In the end, only one player can emerge victorious, and while we are relieved that Gi-hun is the one who will live to fight another day, we are sad that his victory came at the expense of the lives of 455 other players (except for one particularly sneaky player who survived a year longer).
The death of Kang Sae-byeok hurts many people the hardest out of all these losses. This is mostly due to Jung Ho-breakout yeon’s performance as the character and the character’s devastating tale.
Number 067, who is initially presented to the player as a pickpocket but ultimately joins the game to assist her family, is eventually revealed to be a North Korean refugee who is in desperate need of financial assistance in order to bring her family back together after a perilous border crossing in which the father was killed and the mother was taken captive.
In an interview with W Korea, Jung revealed that in order to prepare for the role, she “watched a lot of films about North Korean defectors.” Additionally, she worked with a teacher who assisted her in studying for the role to practise speaking with a North Korean accent.
On the other hand, the majority of non-Korean speakers probably aren’t aware of the fact that Jung does not merely maintain a North Korean accent throughout the entirety of the show. Instead, when she is with other South Korean players, Sae-byeok makes an effort to conceal the fact that she is pregnant. The only time she uses an accent that more closely resembles her native North Korean speech is when she is conversing with her brother.
Reddit user soyfox and comedian and podcaster Youngmi Mayer deserve all of the credit for this observation. You can read more about what they had to say about it here and here. Other Squid Game fans, especially devoted watchers of Crash Landing On You, an additional popular Korean drama that takes place almost entirely in North Korea, caught on to this fact almost immediately.
When everyone watching with me was like “why does everyone know she’s North Korean.” We can hear it 😭 https://t.co/l2lYjcW3Y1
— 🍙Lyddie🌸🇰🇷 she/her (@lyddiemoon) October 1, 2021
You might be wondering why Sae-byeok would go to such lengths to conceal her North Korean background and dialect. Nextshark writer Grace Kim elaborates on the idea that most defectors adopt South Korean speech and mannerisms to avoid unwanted questioning and even prejudice.
This makes sense given the show’s setting. For example, Jang Deok-su repeatedly labels Sae-byeok a “spy” and a “communist,” both derogatory terms that have to do with her history. Indeed, this is the case even when she makes an effort to conceal her accent.
A 2018 publication by APA member Jeea Yang for Psychology International compiled research on the wide range of post-resettlement mental health issues experienced by North Korean defectors, many of whom are subjected to extreme negative stereotypes.
The document references a 2014 study by the Korea Hana Foundation that revealed 58.4 percent of young defectors were unwilling to even identify as having been born in North Korea if questioned about it.
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When all of this is considered, it is even more upsetting to realize that the only time Sae-byeok feels comfortable enough to utilize her natural accent is when she is speaking to her younger brother. Sae-byeok can only be completely herself when she is surrounded by her family. For this reason, she has decided to get back into the game in the hopes of making life easier for those who are most important to her.
Gi-hun lays that dream to rest by using the money he acquired to take Sae-brother byeok’s out of the orphanage and reunite him with Cho’s mother, despite the fact that a glass shard and Cho Sang-woo quickly put an end to that possibility (who just lost her own son to the game).
When seen in relation to how the other players fared, the conclusion of Sae-story byeok’s is rather heartening to say the least. Let’s simply keep our fingers crossed that her mother will find a way to get out and will one day be able to find her son in South Korea. Or, even better, Sae-brother byeok’s might one day grow up to plot his vengeance against the people who made Squid Game and avenge the murder of his sister in a later season…
The television show Squid Game is now available to stream on Netflix.