Jang Ja-yeon Biography

Jang Ja-yeon was a promising South Korean actress who committed suicide in March 2009. This biography profiles her childhood, family, personal life, achievements, death and some interesting facts.

Quick Facts

Birthday: January 25, 1980

Nationality: South Korean

Famous: Actresses South Korean Women

Age: 40 Years, 40 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Aquarius

Born in: Jeongeup, South Korea

Famous as: Actress

Height: 5'6" (168 cm), 5'6" Females

More Facts

education: Chosun University

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Jang Ja-yeon was a promising South Korean actress best known for her only KBS television drama series ‘Boys Over Flowers’. This budding star was found hanging from the stairway banister of her home in the Bundang district of Seongnam, Gyeonggi province, on March 7, 2009. She was 29 years of age at that time and was about to make her big-screen debut with anticipated release of her first two films ‘Penthouse Elephant’ and ‘They Are Coming’. Jang was known to be suffering from depression that probably triggered from her parent’s death in a car accident ten years back and was getting treated medically over the last year. According to police investigations there was no foul play in her death, which they concluded as suicide. However a national scandal sprouted when her seven-page suicide note came to shore where she alleged her management agency of abusing her sexually and physically. She mentioned that she was beaten regularly and compelled to have sex and entertain many bigwigs of the entertainment industry including CEOs, media executives and program directors and penned down 31 such names of prominent entertainment executives with whom she was forced to have sex. Police probed twenty people and finally prosecuted seven while Jang’s agent Kim Sung-hoon was given a year’s sentence, two years of probation and community service for 160 hours.

Childhood & Early Life
  • Her debut in the world of glamour and entertainment happened with a television commercial in 2006.
  • She landed up with her breakthrough in the South Korean romance comedy drama television series ‘Boys Over Flowers’ that had Ku Hye-sun, Kim Bum, Kim Joon (of T-Max), Lee Min-ho, Kim So-eun and Kim Hyun-joong (of SS501) in starring roles.
  • ‘Boys Over Flowers’ aired on KBS2 for 25 episodes from January 5, 2009 to March 31, 2009. It was based on Japanese shōjo manga series penned down by Yoko Kamio bearing same title. Jang played supporting role of Park Sun-ja aka Sunny, one of the Mean Girls Trio (Jin Sun Mi) who are offensive towards the main character of Geum Jan Di essayed by Ku Hye-sun.
  • However before the series could complete, Jang took the ultimate step of killing herself while waiting with expectation of release of her first two films namely ‘They Are Coming’ (2009) and ‘Penthouse Elephant’ (2009).
  • ‘Penthouse Elephant’, a South Korean psychological thriller, starring Jo Dong-hyuk, Lee Sang-woo and Jang Hyuk in lead roles released on November 5, 2009, and grossed US$915,943 at the box office garnering mixed reviews. The film was the feature directorial debut of S.K. Jhung, who also wrote and produced it.
  • ‘Penthouse Elephant’ marked the last onscreen appearance of Jang who can be seen playing the character of Hye-mi in it.
Personal Life
  • On March 7, 2009, at 3:30 p.m. Jang had a word with her sister over phone. During such conversation she mentioned about the "overwhelming stress" she was going through and also uttered that she "wanted to die". Jang’s sister called her back again later in that day and when the call went unanswered her sister returned to their home in the Bundang district of Seongnam, Gyeonggi province at around 7:42 p.m. and found Jang’s body hanging from the stairway banister.
  • Police investigations followed and as no evidence of foul play came to light, it was concluded that she committed suicide which was believed to have taken place at around 4:30 p.m. on the fateful day of March 7, 2009.
  • Condolences poured in Jang's website from thousands of her fans while her colleagues from ‘Boys Over Flowers’ gathered at the Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang to pay their last respects to her.
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  • Her funeral was conducted on March 9, 2009 amidst family, friends and co-actors. Following her cremation, her remains were interred in Jeongeup, North Jeolla province beside that of her parents.
  • Such fatal step of Jang was initially attributed to the clinical depression she was suffering from which presumably initiated from her parent’s death in a car crash ten years back. It was also known that she was getting medical treatment for such illness over the last year.
  • However a seven page suicide note of Jang where she described and alleged the way her management agency beat her regularly to submit to their demand of entertaining and having sex with many bigwigs of the entertainment industry prompted an outcry and a considerable debate over the darker side of entertainment industry as also on police probe on her management agency.
  • In her seven page note she mentioned a list of at least 31 names including that of media executives, CEOs and program directors with whom she claimed she was forced to have sex.
  • Her strained relation with her management agency was a known fact and as her allegations leaked in the media, police was forced to investigate on her relation with an array of industry professionals, cultural elites and VIPs whose names she enlisted.
  • Although South Korean police restrained from coming up with the full list, a partial one was flashed by the internet users.
  • Some of the names mentioned in the partial list were that of Jun Gi Sang, producer of ‘Boys Over Flowers’; Jun Chang Geun, producer of KBS’s Geumji Ok Yeob; Shin Kyuk Ho, Chairman of Lotte, Lee Woong Ryeol, Chairman of Kolon (ko); and Bang Myung-Hoon, Vice-President of Sports Chosun among others.
  • According to reports that surfaced in South Korea, Jang accused her agent Kim Sung-hoon of beating her regularly to give in to the ongoing sexual exploitation.
  • Kim who was in Japan at that time brushed off such allegations. He on the other hand cried foul play saying that Jang's former manager, Yoo Jang-ho had a hand in such letter so as to cause damage to his business. A police raid in Kim’s office however unearthed a "secret room" on the third floor having a bed and a shower.
  • In June 2009 Kim, who was still in Japan, was arrested in Tokyo for overstaying his visa. Later the Korean police sent a request for Kim’s extradition with regard to Jang’s case. A probe was conducted on twenty people of whom seven were prosecuted.
  • Kim was slapped a prison term for one year, a probation period of two years in addition to community service for 160 hours.
  • The April 18, 2013, released South Korean film ‘NORIGAE’ was based on her tragedy.

See the events in life of Jang Ja-yeon in Chronological Order

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- Jang Ja-yeon Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
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Jang Ja-yeon

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