K-netizens Continue to Be Upset that Netflix Hit Drama Squid Game is Too Similar to Popular Japanese Manga As the God’s Will

It’s a fascinating case study on the domestic South Korea response to hit Netflix survivor game drama Squid Game. After a weekend dominating the streaming platform in multiple regions and getting as high as #1 in the worldwide rankings, one would think K-netizens would be proud. Instead the commentariat has remained focused on and frustrated by the same concept and worse multiple game similarities to hit Japanese manga As the God’s Will, which was adapted into a J-movie in 2014 directed by Takashi Miike starring Fukushi Sota. It sounds like more of the audience watched the J-movie than the entirety of the manga series, which I read and enjoyed, but it’s two arcs and the J-movie only adapted the first (shorter) arc with the students who went to school that day and were forced into games, versus the second arc about the delinquent or sick students who missed school that day. The Squid Game screenwriter claimed to have written his script in 2009 but could not get the series made due to how bloody and violent it was until now. I think the biggest problem is the first game – the classic children’s game called Red Light, Green Light in the US with different names, in Japan it’s called Daruma-san ga koronda and in Korea Mugunghwa kkochi pieotseumnida. Since As the God’s Will came out first, the screenwriter of Squid Game should have changed his first game to a different one or made it later in the series. Starting off with the exact same game and execution is probably what makes the similarities all the more noticeable. I am wondering why K-netz is upset since they usually want to stick it to Japan, so probably they don’t like a South Korean show being accused of copying something and it’s so close it’s hard to defend.


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K-netizens Continue to Be Upset that Netflix Hit Drama Squid Game is Too Similar to Popular Japanese Manga As the God’s Will — 31 Comments

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  3. Given how similar the setup and some scene sequences for the first game is, I find it hard to believe if at least the director didn’t watch the movie prior or the script writer saw the manga or both

  4. Okay, I have been trolling in the past few articles about Korean entertainment, because I find it funny how defensive all these k-boos are. However, this comment is meant to be serious.

    Whenever China or Japan does something wrong (such as plagiarism), people would always stick it in their faces. Even racially abuse them. Korea, however, is almost like a cult, where fans (in particular from South-Asia and South-East Asia) will defend their biases with their whole life.

    Squid Game should not be popular, because it is not original. They ran with an idea from someone else and conquered the world with it. This is something that I find highly disturbing about Korea. They learnt a lot from China and Japan, but they always deny their shared history. They always crap in particular on Japan and accuse the Chinese of stealing, but more often than not I see the Koreans doing the same. The tutor in Sky Castle stole her wardrobe from the classic J-dorama The Queen’s Classroom, but the Koreans take full credit for her iconic appearance. This bugs me.

    It also bugs me that Koala (who I assume is of Chinese-heritage) talks so positively about Koreans, whilst I know Koreans talk negative and racially abuse the Chinese and Japanese. Through Hallyu, they even managed to brainwash non-Asians in picking sides in the whole Japan/China/Korea-“conflict”. Also, during this pandemic, I have never seen Korean defend their fellow Asians, instead they joined the whole narrative “Covid is Chinese”.

    I am sorry if this sounds racist, but I stopped viewing Korea as a friend for a long time. I nowaday see them as the white man’s lap dog.

    • Trolling or not, your comment in the Uee post was disgusting and exceedingly out of line. But I agree with most of what you’ve written here.

    • If your qualification for popularity is originality, then you can cross off the majority of popular works.

      Korea is able to have cultivate that “cult-following” in Asia because of the soft-power they wield. They’ve done a great job at building up the Hallyu movement and are punching way above their weight with their soft-power influence.

      Korea and Japan have historical bad blood, and Korea and China are locked in worsening geopolitical tensions. I guess it dislikes and is threatened by its two neighbors more than it dislikes and is threatened by the West.

    • Your views (too long) and full of hate, extremely fine narrow minded person. Your personality is transparent of your views which is only to be any worth in your own world. You say “sorry but I’m not racist” … Please, even the dogs passing by would giggle, feel pity of your sorry state. But don’t worry too much as you can not and aren’t able to see nor understand that to speak of anything that you must first check and recheck of the origin to what you make out. But I’m sure you are not capable and again comprehend what it takes nor digest what I’m on about.

      • Hi, Christopher Kim, I have never used the “sorry but I’m not racist”-excuse. You must have difficulties with comprehension yourself. In fact, if you read carefully, I am actually saying the opposite. I am saying “Look, I don’t care if you find me a racist, but Korea is not my friend”.

        This feeling started a long time ago. I might be using the name of a former-hysterical fan of Lee Min-ho, but if I would pick a Korean celebrity I like, then it would be Jun Ji-hyun (so adyjunjihyun is kinda fitting). Just read the amount of hate comments regarding her real surname by the Koreans. Her real name is Wang Ji-hyun and therefore she is suspected to be of Chinese heritage. Well, k-netizens really love to belittle her because of this. Whenever she does something “wrong”(such as not lowering the rent during the pandemic), they will assault her because she is Chinese.

        I also remember back in the days, a contest where middle school children could make drawings to be hanged up in the boring subway stations. Almost all of them were about celebrating the bombing of Japan or about Dokdo. These are merely young kids… Why raise them up with so much hate. Also, these drawings should be filtered out by the authorities. For example, see these examples: https://yokohamated.typepad.jp/blog/2012/09/middle-school-students-of-south-korea-show-off-their-anti-japan-talent-at-painting-competition.html. Ignore the whole writing of the blog post. Just look at the pictures. This was photographed by a White person and he was banned from Korea afterwards.

    • i am also sorry if it sounds racist but if covid is not Chinese propaganda why don’t the Chinese govt let anyone in for investigation at wuhan? whats there to hide?
      korean entertainment industry became famous because they knew how to market themselves better… even the Korean govt give support to them unlike the Chinese govt who try to suppress the entertainment industry because they don’t like anything getting more popular than their party…
      you are speaking as if china and japan loves korea and Korea is the bratty kid that don’t appreciate china and japan… lets accept the fact that japan, china and Korea don’t like each other… the feelings are mutual… esp china and Korea towards japan due to history…
      all 3 entertainment industry copies stuff from each other and gets away with it…

  5. Why would/should they be proud of a clearly plagiarized work? Just because you I-fans worship Netlix as your lord and savior doesn’t mean the K-audience should.

    • Right? I mean, this ripoff is being presented to the world as original KOREAN content so the KOREAN audience have a right to feel upset about it if they want. If anyone would be sticking it to anyone, wouldn’t it be the Japanese to Koreans for being consistent copycats? How many J-works and other foreign works has Korea ripped off so far? Countless. But J-netz don’t seem to be as vocal as C-netz?
      And those thinking this drama will sweep Baeksang just because of popularity? Lmao. Okay, Bob. We’ll all be here.

      • The Japanese seems rather unbothered with it, they realized it’s similar to Kaiji and As God’s Will, just check their reviews of the drama here https://filmarks.com/dramas/11249/15619. The J-netz themselves are rather in a kind of another/renewed K-Drama Wave due to Covid and Netflix tho, so it’s possible they’re acting kinda like a koreaboo about it too lol.

      • @Pong

        I meant J-netz generally don’t seem as vocal as C-netz and K-netz who will call stuff out. Not just this instance. But generally.

    • Now that I think abt it, I have to agree. Koreans in general tends to glorify & glamourize countries like the USA or the UK. They always think that US is this saint of a country that will save them or give them a lot of opportunities of they want or possibly move there when in reality is not. The taxes in the US is high, healthcare & insurance is expensive AF and Asians suffer from racism & discrimination. To add that US is not as advanced and modern like Korea. It’s evident in a lot of kdramas esp the ones that involves a rich families(chaebol)when the characters keeps on saying how great the USA is. I’m not trying to let anyone down here but that’s is just how it is.

      • korea and japan are technically much more advanced than USA… esp japan… its like living in a whole different timeline…

      • korea and japan are technologically much more advanced than USA… esp japan… its like living in a whole different timeline…

  6. I find most works in the survival game genre to be pretty similar, but if there are specific scenes that are the same that is a problem. Tbh I’m more concerned with the overall work, and I feel like Squid Game carved out its own little space, but I can understand why Knetz are upset.

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