Fast food, city streets, travel… “Squid Game” is everywhere in Korea
The survival TV series “Squid Game” was released worldwide on Netflix on September 17, 2021, and has created an explosive boom. The craze continues in Korea, the home country of the series, with logo parodies and related goods appearing one after another.
In late October, a four-meter tall Yeonhee doll was set up in the Olympic Park in Seoul’s Songpa District. The doll was created by Netflix in response to the popularity of the film, and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., it plays the song “Mugunghwa kochi piwosumida” (The Mugunghwa flower has bloomed = Daruma-san has fallen).
Immediately after the release of “Squid Game,” from September 18 to 22, Korea was closed for the Chuseok holiday, which falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. As a result, many viewers watched all the episodes at once, and it quickly became such a hot topic that people said, “You have to watch it to get into the story. Although there were some negative comments such as “it’s too cruel”, “I don’t want my children to see it”, and “I’ve seen a lot of Japanese death games, so it didn’t feel fresh”, there were also praises such as “I couldn’t take my eyes off it”, “the characters are fascinating”, “I was drawn in by the actors’ great performances”, and “the sets, props, and costumes are visually interesting”. The visuals of the sets, props and costumes are interesting.
This year, many celebrities including LISA of BLACKPINK and Seohyun of Girls’ Generation showed off their costumes for Halloween.
Jung Ho-young, who made her acting debut in this movie, got her big break!
This is the acting debut of Jeon Ho-young, who plays the heroine, Sae-byuk. 176 cm tall supermodel Jeon Ho-young has been active on the world stage, but “Squid Game” was her big break as an actor. In October, she was featured on the cover of VOGUE KOREA in three glamorous patterns, and has been in demand in the advertising industry as well, becoming the top Korean actress with over 23 million followers on Instagram.
MUSINSA, the fashion EC mall where Jeon Ho-young is an advertising model, is now selling the first domestic collaboration product with Netflix, a green jersey and T-shirt set. The week before Halloween, a raffle drawing was held with 456 sets, the same number as the number of participants in the game, and more than 180,000 people came to buy them. The response was much greater than expected, and general sales began in November.
Also, although not official goods, green jerseys for pets and pink soldier key chains are available at stalls in Seoul.
The first Wiz Covid-19 tour for foreign tourists is also a “Squid Game” tour.
Jeju Island, which Saebyeok mentioned in the movie that he would like to visit, is also taking advantage of this boom and promoting itself as a tourist destination. For 10 days from November 5, the Jeju Tourism Organization held an online voting event for foreigners to introduce Jeju’s tourist spots and ways to enjoy them. The tourist spots that were chosen as the top three in the popular vote will later be made into a video that will be shown on SNS so that people can enjoy the online experience tour.
In addition to the online tour, Korea is also gradually starting to accept foreign tourists as actual travel is resumed through the “Gradual Restoration of Daily Life (With Covid-19)” measure that started on November 1. At present, South Korea has signed agreements with Saipan and Singapore for a travel bubble (mutual quarantine exemption system) for vaccinated persons, and has also agreed with Palau on the phased introduction of this system.
On November 15, the first traveler from Singapore since the Covid-19 disaster arrived at Incheon International Airport. Immediately after entering the country, they underwent PCR testing and began sightseeing in accordance with the Korean government’s “With Covid-19 Phase 1” quarantine guidelines. The sightseeing tour included a traditional play experience at the Korean Folk Village, where they could enjoy the molded kalme-yaki that appeared in “The Squid Game.
Following the success of BTS and the movie “Parasite: A Family Under the Sea,” South Korea has attracted the attention of the world with the success of “Squid Game. It seems that the number of globally popular contents will continue to increase in the future.
Reporting and writing by： Mihane Harada
A freelance writer who has lived in Korea for 12 years. She writes about Korean culture and tourism information.