This “Minari” Merch Represents a Reimagined Depiction of Americana

published Apr 24, 2021
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Credit: Photo by Josh Ethan Johnson, Courtesy of A24

I’m not usually into movie merch. Honestly, I have the attention span of a tiny bird and know how quickly I can lose interest in themed trinkets I once pledged all my devotion to. But when I saw “Minari” merch out on A24’s online shop, I felt the same heart flutters I got when I watched the movie.

For those who haven’t gotten the chance to stream it yet, “Minari” is the story of a Korean-American immigrant family that moves to a small plot of land in Arkansas, with hopes of a better life. While the story itself is a tale as old as the American dream, it’s refreshing in its reimagined depiction of Americana. It’s fewer apple pies and Fourth of July, and more lush pastures, small-town interactions, and candid depictions of relationships formed in the throb of all-American ambition. 

And it’s exactly this brand of contemporary Americana that’s perfectly captured in A24’s 4-piece selection of “Minari” merch, which includes a “Family Business Zine,” edited by the movie’s director Lee Isaac Chung and actor Steven Yeun, an illustrated postcard set, a t-shirt, and recipe cards. Each piece quietly portrays one aspect of the immigrant life, from broken dreams to tasty dishes. Perhaps one of the best parts of the collection is that each piece is crafted by, and shines a light on, a different Asian-American artist, including NYC-based illustrator Naomi Otsu and author-illustrator Sojung Kim-McCarthy.

Based on a movie that’s already racked up several accolades — including a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, and is headed to the Oscars with six historical nominations — I’m not surprised all of these items feel like they could stand up on their own. If you’re not convinced, take a look for yourself.

First of all, zines are rad, and I’m overjoyed that they’re still a thing. This one’s got all the markers of a classic one, including a colorful palette, rich illustrations you’ll want to tear out and frame, and typewriter font. In the vein of “Minari,” the whole edition is filled with stories of “family businesses, relationships, and human beings.” Best of all, it’s edited by the very director and actor who brought us the iconic film.

My Korean-American mom never wrote down any of her recipes, but if she did, this is exactly what they’d sound like. Here, each recipe is accompanied by an illustration that’s both delightful and nostalgic, making each card read like a precious family recipe passed on across generations. To get it, you don’t even have to pay a thing — just subscribe to A24’s newsletter, and you’ll receive a printable PDF.

I am so happy this postcard set exists in the world. As an immigrant who doesn’t see herself represented enough in today’s cultural milieu, this illustrated item feels both masterful and quietly groundbreaking. Each of the 18 postcards brings the movie to life, with intimate snapshots from the life of the Yi family.

Designed by Rhee Studio, this is the kind of t-shirt that I’d wear for 10 years non-ironically, then proudly put in my vintage bedtime t-shirt rotation for another decade, before transforming it into a stuffed animal so it can live on in my life forever. For those curious, the Korean on the front reads as, “Mr. Yi’s Farm,” so it’s legit.