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What Squid Game Means -10 Things You Might Not Have Known

Squid Game- What it means
Source: Netflix

Squid Game has been the most-watched show on Netflix. You probably have watched it already but there might be some scenes that you might have missed.
As seen from the commentary and his previous works, the director is definitely not the kind that makes scenes with coincidences. Just sharing what you have missed in Squid Game because you don’t know the Korean language or culture or simply because you were too engrossed in the show! Spoilers Alert!

#1 Oh Il Nam in Squid Game

Oh Il Nam

His name itself in Korean is already a spoiler.

The secret of Oh Il Nam
오징어 is squid in Korean. 일 is the number one in Korea. 남자 means man.
His name is literally the abbreviation of “Squid Game Number 1 Man”, in other words, the first man in Squid Game, strongly hinting he is the creator of the game.

#2 The Doll in Red Light Green Light has a Name!

The name of the doll in squid game
Source: Netflix

Her name is 영희 (Young Hee), a character from Primary School textbooks in Korea in the 80’s. The director of the Netflix Show Squid Game, being inspired by the friendly character in his childhood textbook, reincarnated her into the gigantic robot that mercilessly shoots at players caught moving in red light. Your childhood friend making a comeback as a killing machine that’s quite a nightmare!
The name of the doll in red light green light squid game

+ Where is the Squid Game Doll in Real Life?

Squid Game Doll in real life
Source: Naver Blog

Around the web, it is commonly said that the Squid Game Doll can be found at 진천 마차체험박물관 Jincheon Macha Museum.
However, she is not open to the public anymore.

Squid Doll before Netflix release
Source: Naver Blog
The Red Light Green Light Doll before the Squid Game release

It’s because the museum misunderstood the manufacturer of the Squid Game doll and thought they could show her to the public after the release of Squid Game on Netflix.
The museum uncovered the veil and revealed her to the public for some days until they received a call from the manufacturer that the doll was supposed kept private.

Thus, Young Hee the Squid Game doll has been transferred to a private storage and we can’t visit her now.

#3 Red Light Green Light in Korean

the mugunghwa

In the translated English version, Young Hee the Doll in the first game of Squid Game just blurbs “Green Light, Red Light”. However, in the original Korean game, Young Hee sings a melody with the lyrics “무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다” (M00-goong-hwa-kkotchee-pieot-seum-ni-da]. It literally means “The Hibiscus flower has bloomed”. While her face is on the tree, she sings the song and the players are free to move. When the song ends, she spins her head around to face the players and strictly kills those whose motion is detected. Hibiscus is the national flower of Korea. But why should we stay motionless when the flower blooms? Nobody knows just as we don’t know who created the children’s game.

#4 The Meaning of Sae Byeok

Meaning of Saebyeok
Source: Netflix

Sae Byeok is one of the main characters in Squid Game. Her name Sae Byeok literally means “dawn”, the time darkest time before sunrise, in Korean. Probably due to her dark personality, Gi Hun says the name doesn’t suit her.
Sadly, Sae Byeok dies before she can ever see the sunrise in her life. The name of the song played when she dies is “Dawn”.

#5 Fly Me to the Moon

Have you wondered why “Fly Me to the Moon” is played in Red Light Green Light?
Of course, the graceful music being played behind the bloody kill-spree amplifies the drastic reality of the drama but take a look at the scenes again:

Piggy bank in Squid Game
Source: Netflix

Piggy bank in Squid GameSource: Netflix

Here is the picture of the moon

.Fly me to the Moon

Look at our characters’s beloved piggy bank.

Piggy bank in Squid Game
Source: Netflix
Did you notice the relationship between these three?
The players jumping to the finish line look like they are “flying”. Where are they flying to? In this scene, it’s to the finish line but if we were to take a broader view, it would be to the goal of the entire Squid Game, which is the ₩45.6 billion reward in the piggy bank!
This round piggy bank, instead of being white LED, so happens to be bright yellow like the moon hanging in the sky

#6 Why Squid Game?

Why is the show named “Squid Game”?
Out of so many children’s games in Korea, why is it “Squid Game” that is chosen?

Do you know how squids are fished?
The boats go out to the sea in the darkest hour of the night with intensively bright bulbs:

meaning of squid game
Source: 김호빈

The squids, being attracted to the bright light, are lured to the fishing boat, not knowing they are close to death.

Just like the squids, the players, being sunken in the darkest and most miserable moments of life, are lured to the bright ₩45.6 billion piggy bank and into the game, thinking that it is the only hope.
Piggy bank in Squid Game
They think can emerge as winners, not knowing that they are indeed driving themselves to death. The bright bulb of the squid fishing boat and the piggy bank also look similar in appearance.
In addition, other than the fish “squid”, squid has a different meaning in Korean slang. The slang “squid 오징어” refers to a person who is ugly. Being ugly in a capitalist society would mean being buried in massive debts they cannot pay off and having irrevocably low credits. In other words, the players are ugly losers in the capitalist society who are lured to the bright piggy bank but in fact they are volunteering themselves to death.

The players are squids. Hence, the game of squids, Squid Game.

#7 Kkakdugi in Squid Game

kkakdugi in Squid game
Source: Kimchiworld
In Episode 6, “Mi-Nyeo” becomes the odd one out as nobody wants to pair with her but it turns out that she is not eliminated as she is “Kkakdugi 깍두기” or the weakest link in the English version. Kkakdugi in Squid Game? Kkakdugi as in the radish Kimchi? Yes but when playing games, it can mean another thing.
When children of a range of ages and sizes come together, there are bound to be a couple of them who are particularly weak, small or slow. These odd ones are often the ones who will be eliminated the first when the game is played under the “normal” circumstance. However when you have “Kkakdugi”, the odd ones can play together without worrying about losing. This is because being “Kkakdugi”, they are allowed to have privileged skills, given many lives or will not be eliminated even when they are “caught”. This is why Minyeo was not eliminated when she was the odd one out. Kkakdugi was a considerate culture created by Korean children to include the vulnerable in games. It taught children to “embrace” rather than leave out the odd ones. Such a beautiful culture but sadly it’s disappearing as children nowadays do not even play games outside together. Most of them go to tuition centres, watch YouTube or play smartphone games.

#8 Inspector Royal 암행어사

Inspector Royal in Squid Game Epi1

What squid game means
Source: Netflix

“If an attacker cuts through the waist of the squid, then they are given the freedom to use both feet and we called it “암행어사Inspector Royal”

What’s “암행어사” [Ahm-haeng-uh-sa]?
암행어사 or Inspector Royal in translated English refers to an undercover inspector secretly sent by the King in Joseon Dynasty.
Since it was impossible for the King to watch over all officers across the Kingdom, he dispatched his covert “inspector” to check upon the officers. The inspector would disguise into a commoner so that he could infiltrate into the officer’s district and check for any corruption and the people’s well-being. When any corruption is discovered, the undercover inspector would reveal his identity to exercise power and arrest the corrupted officer. Why did the inspector had to be undercover? Because if the officer knows he is an inspector sent from the palace, the corrupted would pretend to be innocent under his presence or assassinate him in the fear of his corruption scandal being disclosed.

Source: ChosunMedia
So what does 암행어사 Inspector Royal have to do with Squid Game?
By clearly mentioning “암행어사 Inspector Royal” at the beginning of Episode 1, the creator of the show was strongly foreshadowing “someone” is going to be “undercover” and infiltrate into the players (refer to #1) or the guards.

#9 One Lucky Day

One Lucky Day is the title of Episode 9 and to Koreans, the title itself is a strong spoiler.
This is because  “운수 좋은 날” “One Luck Day” is the title of the most famous short story in Korea by 현진건 Hyun Jin-geon
The story briefly goes like this:
One Luck Day_Kim Chun Ji
Source: 메밀꽃, 운수 좋은 날 그리고 봄봄

There was a rickshaw puller whose wife was ill. One day, when he was leaving his house for work, his wife pleaded with him to stay with her just for one day. However, he chided her and left because he had to “earn money”.

That day was his lucky day. He had unusually many customers and earned a lot of money. On his way home, he bought his wife’s favourite soup and medicine.

However when he was back at home, his wife was already dead.

One Lucky Day
Source: 메밀꽃, 운수 좋은 날 그리고 봄봄
Tragic. Watched something similar in Squid Game?
Gi Hun left his house to earn money for his ill mother. He got very lucky and rose as the winner of the Squid game with an immense reward. However, when he came back home, his mother was already dead.
Indeed, the short story is the summary of Squid Game from the “Gi Hun”‘s perspective. Hence the title of the last Episode is “One Luck Day” “운수 좋은 날”.

#10 The Identity of the Salesperson Playing Ddakji

Squid Game Salesperson
Source: Netflix
Gong Yoo, the salesperson recruiting players of Squid Game was holding 2 “Ddakji”s–one blue and one red. The blue one was chosen by Gi Hun. Some say blue represents the Players and red the Guards. They are probably right!
An official comment from the director says that he was actually one of the guards! He was working as a guard on the island and managed to gain the trust of the Squid Game organisation, allowing him to go outside as the recruiter. More stories about him may be released in Season 2!
All in all, the above was the 10 things you might not have known in Squid Game. Still hungry for the game? I would recommend watching the below video by Cho Seung Yeon. In my opinion, it’s the best Squid Game Analysis out of both Korean and English Youtubers.
It’s okay if you don’t know Korean, you can select the English caption.

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