Based on the 2017 namesake novel by Korean-American author and journalist Min Jin Lee, ‘Pachinko’ is an epic series about a family’s quest to persevere and thrive. The story begins in the early years of the Japanese occupation of Korea and covers World War II, the bombings, and the subsequent years until the late 1980s. In episode 6, we are taken to 1975 for the first time and introduced to a young Hana.
During this period, Mozasu has found success in the pachinko business in Osaka, and the family has finally managed to gain some financial stability. Solomon’s mother is already dead, and Mozasu has begun dating Etsuko. Hana is rebellious, angry, and restless — everything Solomon is not. And the attraction is imminent. In 1989, Solomon sees Hana again and is told that she has been diagnosed with AIDS. Here is everything you need to know about her. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Who Is Hana in Pachinko?
Hana is Etsuko’s daughter from a previous relationship. In episode 5, she calls Solomon and breaks down crying, telling him that she doesn’t want to die alone. In episode 6, her family finds her. This means that Solomon has informed his father and Etsuko about Hana’s health. The way Solomon talks about Hana makes it quite clear that he still has romantic feelings for the girl, and not all of it stems from nostalgia.
The roots of these feelings are explored to an extent in episode 6 in the sequences set in 1975. This Hana is young, demanding, and gets jealous when Solomon speaks to other girls. Hana’s actions lead to Solomon’s arrest for shoplifting. After being released from police custody, Mozasu tells him that he has decided to send him to America.
What Happened to Hana?
Hana had trouble dealing with separation from Solomon and eventually ran away from home. Her family didn’t hear anything from her in years. Earlier in the season, Mozasu and Etsuko learned from a private investigator they had hired that Hana was working at a soapland. That night, Hana reached out to Solomon for the first time since her disappearance, and it became clear that she was sick.
The news that Hana’s doctor gives Mozasu and Etsuko is quite bleak. Hana has AIDS. She can hold on for a few months, a few weeks, or just a few days. The doctor advises them to treat Hana at home, fearing that other patients will come to know about Hana’s diagnosis. This is 1989, after all — the height of the AIDS epidemic as well as the misinformation and frenzy surrounding it. Ultimately, a male nurse volunteers to take care of Hana.
When Sunja comes to visit Hana, the latter accuses her of being the one to tell her to run away. Sunja apparently said that it was good that Solomon left. If he had stayed, they would have ruined him. Hana thought that Sunja was speaking about her, that she would ruin Solomon’s life. Since then, she has hated Sunja even though she believed that the older woman was right. However, Sunja reveals that she meant herself when she said that. It was a reflection on how she thinks she destroyed the life of her firstborn, Noa.
Will Hana Die?
The doctor tells Mozasu and Etsuko that there is no cure. And he is right: there wasn’t any widely available effective treatment for AIDS in 1989. Hana’s character dies in the book and serves as a catalyst in Solomon deciding to bring changes to his life. If the show continues to follow the overarching narrative of the novel, then Hana will most likely die and serve the same purpose. She is the only part of Solomon’s youth that he is desperately clinging to. Her death will give him the closure that he evidently needs and allow him to come to terms with his self-identity and self-worth.
Read More: What Happened to Sunja’s Mother in Pachinko?