Details You Need to Know about Jang Ja-yeon’s Suicide Case
A career as a celebrity in the South Korean entertainment industry is not easy. Intense competition and strong pressure make many people give up on achieving their dreams in this industry, some of them even choose to end their own lives due to the pressure.
Famous for her role in the ‘Boys Over Flowers‘ in 2009, the death of Jang Ja-yeon is still a mystery now. Let’s find out more about what made Jang Ja-yeon end her life, and new facts that were discovered after the case was reopened!
Jang Ja-yeon’s Suicide Case
On 7 March 2009, Jang Ja-yeon was found hanged at her home in the Bundang district of Seongnam, Gyeonggi province. During a phone call at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon, Jang Ja-yeon had complained to her sister about the “overwhelming stress” she was under, saying that she “wanted to die“. Having later been unable to reach her on the phone, Jang’s sister returned to their shared home at 7:42 p.m., to find her body hanging from the stairway banister. A police investigation concluded that her death was a suicide and found no evidence of foul play. Jang Ja-yeon is believed to have killed herself at around 4:30 pm.
According to widespread South Korean entertainment news reports, it was believed that Jang Ja-yeon claimed that her agent, Kim Sung-hoon, had regularly beaten her and forced her to sleep with a string of VIPs, including directors, media executives, and CEOs. Kim Sung-hoon, who was in Japan, denied the accusations. It was unconfirmed that Jang Ja-yeon wrote a 7-page note listing at least 31 names of media executives, CEOs, and directors that she claimed she was forced into having sex with. South Korean police have suppressed the full list. Later on, it was also reported that the 7-page note might not be dictated by Jang Ja-yeon herself. However, a partial list of the 31 people involved was widely spread on the internet, including Bang Sang-hoon, CEO of The Chosun Ilbo daily; Vice-President of Sports Chosun, Bang Myung-hoon; JoongAng Ilbo (“Central Journal“)’s Director of Advertising, Lee Jae-young; Chairman of Kolon, Lee Woong-ryeol; Chairman of Lotte, Shin Kyuk-ho; former KBS PD, CEO of Olive 9, Go Dae-hwa; producer of KBS’s Geumji Ok Yeob, Jun Chang-geun; producer for KBS, MBC, SBS, Jung Seho; producer for KBS’s Boys Over Flowers, Jun Gi-sang; and Broadcasting/Music producer of Playful Kiss, Boys Over Flowers, Perfect Couple, and Goong, Song Byung-joon. The Chosun Ilbo later issued a statement saying that it was not their current CEO, Bang Sang-hoon, but their former CEO, whose name has not been revealed.
Approximately 250,000 fans visited Jang Ja-yeon’s website on the day of her death to express their condolences, with a further 700,000 visiting the site the following day, while the entire cast of Boys Over Flowers paid their last respects at the mourning hall set up at the Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang. Jang Ja-yeon’s funeral was held there on 9 March 2009, and was attended by family, friends, and fellow actors, including Boys Over Flowers lead, Ku Hye-sun. Her cremated remains were buried next to her parents in Jeongeup, North Jeolla province.
Jang Ja-yeon’s Case Reopened
In 2019, President Moon Jae-in instigated a thorough re-investigation into Jang Ja-yeon’s case, as well as a proper investigation into the Burning Sun scandal and the sex scandal of former high-ranking Ministry of Justice official, Kim Hak-eui.
Due to the controversy of Jang Ja-yeon’s case and the rumors since Jang Ja-yeon’s death, none of the accusations from the media could be used as evidence to press charges on any figures involved.
New Facts About Her Case
After President Moon Jae-in issued a thorough re-investigation into the Jang Ja-yeon’s case, Dispatch revealed several new facts about Jang Ja-yeon’s death.
The last document of the late Jang Ja Yeon
As reported, the late Jang Ja-yeon wrote a letter before committing suicide. However, based on re-investigation, the letter was a file of evidence that was made by the deceased, to report those who had sexually abused her. According to Dispatch media, she wrote the document in the office of Yoo Jang Ho, her current manager. After the actress died, Dispatch accused Yoo Jang Hoo of stating that the document was a will from the deceased.
In this document, translated by Koreaboo, she wrote that she was forced to serve the Contents Entertainment CEO, Kim Jong Seung, drinking alcohol, and having sex. “I have a dream as an actress. With that dream, I must endure violence, both physically and verbally from The Contents Entertainment CEO, Kim Sung Hoon (real name Kim Jong-seung), “
Dispatch released a photo of the deceased a few days before she died
In addition to releasing the document, Dispatch also uploaded photos from CCTV footage showing the late Jang Ja-yeon a few days before she died. She was seen standing in front of the elevator in the manager’s office, Yoo Jang-ho, on February 28, 2009. Jang Ja-yeon was reportedly in the office for 3.5 hours.
On March 1, 2009, Yoo Jang-ho brought with him several documents submitted by the deceased the day before. Yoo Jang-ho took the document to MBC Drama Center and met with actress Lee Mi-sook, who was filming a drama there. On that day, Yoo Jang-ho also sent a message to Jang Ja-yeon to meet him. The next day, Jang Ja-yeon returned to Yoo Jang-ho’s office. Then, four days later, Jang Ja-yeon died.
Lee Mi Sook’s testimony is considered fake
Based on the evidence released, Dispatch also questioned the testimony of a senior actress, Lee Mi-sook. Lee Mi-sook claimed never to have known Jang Ja-yeon from the news of her death, even though they had been in the same agency. “I do not know Jang Ja-yeon, and I only learned her name after this incident. I also did not know that Yoo Jang-ho had compiled this document (the last letter of the late) and I have never seen this document,” said Lee Mi-sook .
Dispatch released evidence that Jang Ja-yeon had been in contact via text message with Lee Mi-sook just days before her death. Jang Ja-yeon told Lee Mi-sook that she had compiled documents that revealed the mistakes of their CEO. The Dispatch also revealed the last message between the deceased and her manager, Yoo Jang-ho.
In the message, Yoo Jang-ho tells Jang Ja-yeon to delete her afternoon schedule because he has arranged a meeting with director Jung Se-ho. This director is the figure that Lee Mi-sook asked to help her against CEO Kim Jong-seung. Two hours later, Jang Ja-yeon died of suicide.
Dispatch suspects the deceased was used to bring down CEO Kim Jong Seung
Dispatch believes that Jang Ja-yeon was used by Yoo Jang-ho and Lee Mi-sook for their fight against The Contents Entertainment and CEO Kim Jong-seung. At that time, Lee Mi-sook had signed an exclusive contract with a new agency, even though she was still under contract with The Contents Entertainment. Her new agency, Hoya Entertainment, was founded in August 2008 by Yoo Jang-ho, who was none other than the late manager of Jang Ja-yeon at the time.
After Dispatch revealed this, Newsen media tried to contact Lee Mi-sook. Lee Mi-sook responded to the reporter’s call as if it was unexpected. “Yes, What is up?” was the answer.
Lee Mi-sook didn’t seem to know about the Dispatch report. When asked if she was now abroad, she responds briefly by saying “no“. When the reporter briefly explained the report about her in the media for about 15 seconds, she responded, in a polite tone. “Wait, I have to watch the news first. Contact me later.“
But when the reporter tried to contact her 30 minutes later, Lee Mi-sook didn’t pick up the phone. Then, a few days after that, Lee Mi-sook made a statement regarding the matter, “Hello, this is Lee Mi-sook. First of all, I’d like to apologize to you for causing you to worry because of these unfortunate circumstances. I’d like to carefully share my statement regarding reports related to the late Jang Ja-yeon. I was careful about speaking up about late Jang Ja-yeon, who faced a tragic death at such an early age because I was worried that every word I said would be distorted into gossip rather than reveal the truth. I am also saddened by the death of late Jang Ja-yeon. I am willing to participate in additional investigations if it is needed in the process of exposing the truth behind her death. However, I believe the investigation should be one that will recover the reputation of the late actress and is approved by the citizens of Korea. I will do my best to make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings or suspicions left regarding late Jang Ja-yeon’s death. Thank you. “
Song Sun Mi’s name was dragged along
Besides Lee Mi-sook, Dispatch also mentioned Song Sun-mi’s name while digging the truth from the case of the late Jang Ja-yeon’s death. Lee Mi-sook and Song Sun-mi have indeed been in the same agency as the deceased. In fact, the names of the two senior actresses were mentioned in documents written before the actress’s death. Song Sun-mi then gave an official statement to the E-Daily.
“I didn’t even know that the late Jang Ja-yeon was an agency with me at the time. The only thing I knew, she was mentioned as a newcomer actress who worked for CEO Kim, whom I heard from Manager Yoo,” said Song Sun- mi.
“In my opinion, if the death is wrong, the truth must be revealed, but I don’t know the person who died at all. I felt burdened to be mentioned, even though I knew nothing about the story at that time. If I knew, why should I be quiet? “she added. Song Sun-mi confessed that during the two years she worked with CEO Kim, she never served or was forced to go to a drinking party.