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|“||Ji-yeong: I'll make sure you win.
Sae-byeok: How will you do that?
Ji-yeong: Whatever it takes.
|~ Ji-yeong asks Kang Sae-byeok to play with her.|
|“||You have a good reason to leave this place. But I don't.||„|
|~ Ji-yeong to Sae-byeok.|
|“||Thank you... for playing with me.||„|
|~ Ji-yeong's last words to Sae-byeok.|
Ji-yeong is a supporting character in the first season of the South Korean Netflix drama show Squid Game. Ji-yeong is a player of the 2020 Squid Game who joined Seong Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo's team and befriended Kang Sae-byeok.
She was portrayed by Lee Yoo-mi.
Ji-yeong is the daughter of a pastor who was very physically abusive towards her and her mother. Her father would always pray after his terrible actions and ask for his sins to be forgiven, causing Ji-yeong to be skeptical about religion. One day, after coming back from school, Ji-yeong witnessed her father holding a knife beside the corpse of her mother. At some point after her mother's death, Ji-yeong herself would murder her father with a knife. This led her to spend some time in jail. Eventually, when she was released, someone was waiting for her, and she initially thought that this person came to collect her father's debts. Instead, the person gave her a card offering the chance for her to join the 33rd Squid Game. Having nowhere else to go, Ji-yeong accepted the offer.
Ji-yeong survived the first two games (Red light, Green Light and Sugar Honeycombs) and the special game. She first appears sitting alone as the teams for the third game are being formed. Kang Sae-byeok approaches her and asks her to come with her to join her team. Reunited with Seong Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo's team, Sang-woo asks Ji-yeong who invited her to join them, and Ji-yeong replies that it was Sae-byeok. Sang-woo reproves Sae-byeok's choice as he requested everyone to bring only men to join their team, having explained that it is to improve their odds as men are better in most games. Hearing this, Ji-yeong feels unwelcome and says she will leave, but Gi-hun tells her that she can stay because they are out of time to look for other people and they don't know what the game will be anyway.
The third game is revealed to be Tug-of-War. Because their team is weaker than their adversaries, a group composed only by men, they have to win relying on strategy and team work. In the end, they survive the challenge thanks to Oh Il-nam and Sang-woo. Il-nam proposes an strategy for them to win with team work. This strategy temporarily works, until the other team manages to pull back the rope. As they are dragged very close to the edge and are about to fall to their deaths, Sang-woo thinks in a last minute plan. The new plan allows them to knock down the other team and drag them to fall on the edge, winning the game.
After the Tug-of-War, Ji-yeong is bothered by Player 244, a pastor of their team who continually prays and thanks God that he is still alive. She tells him that he should be thanking Il-nam and Sang-woo for being alive, not God. Player 244 tells her she is an unfortune soul and it is thanks to God choosing to sacrifice their adversary team that they are still alive. Ji-yeong thinks this is all non-sense, because the pastor helped to kill their adversaries and starts to mock him. Sae-byeok becomes irritated hearing this and tells them both to shut up. As the team leaves the Tug-of-War arena, Ji-yeong asks Sae-byeok for her name. Sae-byeok refuses to reply and tells Ji-yeong to leave her alone. Ji-yeong reminds Sae-byeok that she was the one who came to talk with her first.
Later, Sang-woo reminds Ji-yeong and others of their team to prepare in case Jang Deok-su's and his team start another riot. Player 244 suggests them to attack a weaker team, making Ji-yeong comment that the servant of the Lord is more cruel than the others. When Gi-hun suggests them to set up a barricade, Ji-yeong is seen helping Sae-byeok as their group moves parts of their beds. Sang-woo and Gi-hun then suggest Ji-yeong and the others that they should take turns to keep a watch and prevent members of their group from being killed in their sleep.
In the following day, the announcer says that the players need to form pairs for the fourth game. After Han Mi-nyeo was rejected by the others, Sae-byeok says that nobody will risk their lives playing with women or with Il-nam who is an old man. The pastor says that God created men and women different for a reason and it is useless to ignore their different functions. Ji-yeong tells him this is ridiculous because they are not playing in the Garden of Eden. Sae-byeok leaves to look for a partner and Ji-yeong goes after her. As Sae-byeok watches other players, Ji-yeong approaches her and asks to be her partner. Sae-byeok is initially unsure if this is the right choice, so Ji-yeong asks if she will embarrass herself by asking the other players. Sae-byeok responds she doesn't care about embarrassment and tells her she needs to win. Ji-yeong assures that she will win if they play together and she will do whatever it takes to grant Sae-byeok's victory. After being questioned about the invitation to join the team during the previous game, Sae-byeok says that she asked Ji-yeong because she was the only person who looked like she would accept. Ji-yeong says that she is asking to be her partner for this same reason. Sae-byeok accepts her and they walk together to the place of the next game.
Arriving at the location, they discover they will be playing Marbles. However, the pairs won't be playing together, but against each other. Those who win all the marbles of the partner within 30 minutes will pass this game. Sae-byeok and Ji-yeong are stunned by this. Ji-yeong says this is really a great tragedy. Since they are free to create the rules of the game, Ji-yeong tells Sae-byeok that they can play and bet everything in a single round during the last minutes instead of spend the entire time doing it. Ji-yeong suggests that they should spend their time talking about things they never told anyone, because one of them will die anyway, so they can tell each other anything with no need be embarrassed of it later. Sae-byeok tells Ji-yeong that her family tried to move from the North Korea to the South for a better life, but father was shot while trying to swim across the border and her mother hid in China but later was sent back to the North by immigration agents. In the end, only Sae-byeok and her younger brother entered in South Korea. Sae-byeok tells Ji-yeong that if she wins the prize money, she will use it to buy a house for her family, then get her brother out of the orphanage and get her mother out of North Korea. Ji-yeong asks what else she will do with so much money, Sae-byeok says she would like to go to the Jeju Island because it is exotic and different from Korea. Ji-yeong susggets her to go to the Maldives and drink mojito. Because Sae-byeok reveals she does know what mojito is, Ji-yeong says she will show her and teach more when they leave, only to remind that they won't be able to leave together.
Ji-yeong asks if Sae-byeok ever had seen a corpse before joining the Squid Game. Sae-byeok tells Ji-yeong that her grandparents and older brother were killed by a plague going through her town in North Korea and she saw them being burned together. Ji-yeong also tells the story of her abusive father who was a pastor. Ji-yeong explains she saw her mother's corpse beside him after he stabbed and murdered her, later Ji-yeong killed him with a knife. Ji-yeong says her father would always pray after doing terrible things with her and her mother, but he didn't do it in the day her killed her mother. Ji-yeong thinks he didn't pray because he knew he would not being forgiven. After being released from prison, someone gave her the Squid Game card and she only joined because she had nowhere else to go. Ji-yeong is not sure where she will go when she leaves the Squid Game, and invites Sae-byeok to go to Jeju Island, but then remembers again that they won't be leaving together.
Less than 3 minutes before their time is up, they finally decide to play a simple game of throwing the marbles and the winner will be the one who manages to throw it closer to the wall in front of them. Before playing, they finally tell their names to each other, with Sae-byeok noticing that Ji-yeong has no family name. Sae-byeok throws her marble close to the wall, but Ji-yeong drops hers on purpose. Sae-byeok is surprised and asks what she is doing and if that is what she meant with "granting her victory". Sae-byeok becomes irritated and tells her to try again. Ji-yeong says she would lose anyway and admits she has nothing, no reason to leave the Squid Game alive. Ji-yeong says that Sae-byeok has a good reason to live, because she has to help her mother and younger brother. Ji-yeong asks Sae-byeok to survive, help her family and go to Jeju Island. Sae-byeok cries because of Ji-yeong's decision. As Sae-byeok walks to leave the location with a soldier, she stops as Ji-yeong calls her. Ji-yeong smiles and thanks Sae-byeok for playing with her. Sae-byeok mourns her friend as a guard shots Ji-yeong in the head, eliminating her from the game.
Afterwards, upon returning to the bedroom, Sae-byeok still mourns Ji-yeong's sacrifice as she is seen really sad while eating a potato.
- The Squid Game director, Hwang Dong-hyuk, revealed that Ji-yeong was originally going to be a boy named "Ji-yong".
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