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Why Was Mi-nyeo Not Eliminated in Squid Game?

Why Was Mi-nyeo Not Eliminated in Squid Game?

In Episode 6 of the Korean hit-show “Squid Game”, Mi-nyeo becomes the odd one out as nobody wants to pair with her. However, it turns out that she was not eliminated as she was dubbed the “Kkakdugi 깍두기” or the weakest link in the English version. But why was she dubbed a Kkakdugi? (pronounced Kock-du-gee) 

Directly translated, it means radish kimchi. But when playing games, it takes on a whole different meaning. 

When children of varying sizes and age come together, there are bound to be a couple of them who are particularly weak, small, or slow. It may be thought these are often the ones who will be eliminated first when a 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 in Squid Game was not eliminated when she was the odd one out. Kkakdugi is borne from a considerate culture created by Korean children to include the more vulnerable in games. It taught children to “embrace” rather than leave out the so-called odd ones. 

Such a beautiful culture is slowly disappearing as less children play games outside together. This cultural phenomenon is in danger of being overshadowed by things like YouTube or video games. 

Source: Seoul Korean Language Center (February 1, 2022)

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