The Squid Game: The true meaning of the number 456 in the Netflix drama


The Squid Game continues to rank first among Netflix series as the most watched in the entire history of the broadcaster. Premiering in September 2021, the survival-thriller drama became a fan-favorite show and a popular culture icon that continues to make waves.

Fans of The Squidward Game are waiting for the return of the series with season 2, which according to its creator Hwang Dong-hyuk, is currently in the early stages of development. The next installment is promised to be bigger and more revealing. In addition, it is expected that new participants will immerse themselves in other games.

The successful series on the Netflix streaming platform presented a dark story where a total of 456 players risked themselves to death, in order to obtain the biggest prize in money (Wones, South Korean currency) to transform their miserable and hopeless lives. However, they did not know what it was until they were inside and could not get out.

Participants in the series’ macabre games were numbered from 1 to 456. There’s no denying that Netflix’s survival drama was loaded with subtle details; and the fact of recognizing them precisely with a number, was one of them. Although at first glance, fans of The Squid Game perceived that this method was used solely as a way to identify each player.

An important detail here is that the purpose of the main characters of The Squid Game and their numbers are connected by events that occurred in the story from the beginning to the end. An example of this was Il-nam, identified with the number 001 and whose name translates as “One man” or “first man”, the oldest player who faked his death during the game of marbles. However, in the end it was revealed that he is the creator of the Game.

“Because he signed up himself the first time, that’s why we gave him number one,” Hwang said.

In the Netflix series, the player Gi-hun was number 456. He was the last participant to join the Games, but the only one who took pity on Il-nam. The number of him could also place him in the lower stratum of life in a capitalist world, translated in the development of the history of the series, in terrible situations. Director Hwang explained how his number was related to the kind of life the main character led before joining the games.

“It’s interesting because some numbers have meaning and others just don’t. For example, Gi-hun’s number, 456, means the end, and in the end, it means that you know, he is in the most extreme situations, the most terrible situations, and probably the most desperate,” Hwang explained.