Netflix subscribers around the world are watching Squid in South Korea en masse. The series’ themes — such as debt and the gap between rich and poor — seem to be ubiquitous, but the fact that the series was made in South Korea is no coincidence, according to experts.
“The game in the series is fiction, of course, but what you see a lot is that creditors are chasing people,” says Korea expert Rimko Brooker of Leiden University. Horror stories of rogue moneylenders demanding members from perpetrators, as in the Squid game, are also based on reality.
Researcher Flora Smit, affiliated with Leiden University, sees the series as an example of South Korea’s critique of excessive capitalism. Smit lived in the country for four years. “It was so beautifully expressed in The Guardian recently, a South Korean said: ‘If I wanted to watch a Squid Game, I’d look in the mirror.'”
The society we live in
Squid was in the news this week: Netflix reported that the series had 111 million viewers in 17 days Best appearance ever. It also turns out that Dutch viewers were offered the age rating of 12 and over at the start of the series. Later, Netflix modified this to 16 and up.
The series revolves around a game in which South Koreans who have large debts are approached. The contestants compete for a huge amount of money, but the losers are brutally murdered. Creator Hwang Dong Hyuk said in an interview with CNN The series is a reflection of the society in which we live. A story about losers who struggle with challenges and get left behind as winners rise.
South Korea on the one hand is a rich country with well-known companies such as Samsung and Hyundai, while at the same time, families there are heavily indebted. The ease with which loans can be obtained in South Korea is a large part of the economic problems, which have been exacerbated by high unemployment and a widening gap between the rich and the poor.
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