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This is a Korean name; the family name is Jang.
Jang Ja-yeon
Born 8 December 1982(1982-12-08)
Died 7 March 2009 (aged 26)
Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Occupation Actress
Years active 2006 – 2009
Korean name
Hangul 장자연
Hanja 張子姸

Jang Ja-yeon (Hangul: 장자연; 8 December 1982 – 7 March 2009) was a South Korean actress. At the time of her death, Jang had been starring in the KBS television drama series Boys Over Flowers. She had been suffering from depression, and a police investigation concluded that her death was a suicide.



Jang made her debut in 2006 in a television commercial.[1] Her big break came in Boys Over Flowers playing the role of Sunny, one of a trio of girls who antagonise the female lead played by Koo Hye-seon. At the time of her death, Jang was awaiting the release of her first two films, They Are Coming and Penthouse Elephant.[2]

Jang was known to have had difficulties with her management agency regarding the renewal of her contract, and was apparently unhappy with the diminishing importance of her character in Boys Over Flowers.[1][3]

Personal life

Since the death of her parents in a traffic accident in 1999, Jang had been living with her older sister and younger brother.[3][4] Prior to her own death, Jang had been suffering with depression and had received medical treatment for her illness during the past year.[1]


Jang Ja-yeon was found hanged to death at her home in the Bundang district of Seongnam, Gyeonggi province, on 7 March 2009. During a phone call at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon, Jang had complained to her sister about the "overwhelming stress" she was under, saying that she "wants to die".[1] 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.[5] A police investigation concluded that her death was a suicide,[5] and found no evidence of foul play.[4] Jang is believed to have taken her own life at around 4:30 p.m.[5]. An alleged suicide note left by Jang describes how she was beaten and forced to entertain and have sex with several program directors, CEOs and media executives, causing considerable debate about relations in the entertainment industry, as well as a police probe into her management agency.[6][7] According to South Korean reports, Jang claimed that her agent Kim Sung-hoon had regularly beaten her and forced her to have sex with a string of VIPs, including directors, media executives and CEOs. Kim Sung-hoon, who was in Japan, denies the accusations.[8]

The former manager of Jang's management agency, Kim Sung-hoon, was arrested in Tokyo in June 2009 for overstaying his visa. Korean police requested Kim's extradition on a warrant related to Jang's death. Kim at the time of his arrest stated that he "committed a crime in South Korea and overstayed in Japan to avoid being arrested."[9] Later, prosecutor allowed Kim to bail.

Approximately 250,000 fans visited Jang's website on the day of her death to express their condolences, with a further 700,000 the following day,[4] 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.[5] Jang's funeral was held there on 9 March, and was attended by family, friends and fellow actors, including lead Koo Hye-seon. Her cremated remains are to be buried next to her parents in Jeongeup, North Jeolla province.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Boys Over Flowers (TV) Sunny/Park Seon-ja
They Are Coming To be released
Penthouse Elephant To be released

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Chung Ah-young. "Boys over Flowers' Actress Jang Found Dead in Apparent Suicide". The Korea Times, 8 March 2009. Retrieved on 9 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b "“Boys over Flower” actress Jang Ja-yeon Laid to Rest". KBS World, 9 March 2009. Retrieved on 9 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b Thacker, Todd. "[Korea News Photo] Fatal Fame". OhmyNews International, 9 March 2009. Retrieved on 9 March 2009.
  4. ^ a b c "Actress Jang Ja-yeon in Apparent Suicide". Digital Chosunilbo, 9 March 2009. Retrieved on 9 March 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d Kim Mi-ju. "Actress from ‘Boys Over Flowers’ hangs herself". JoongAng Daily, 9 March 2009. Retrieved on 9 March 2009.
  6. ^ Kwon Mee-yoo "'Late Actress Was Forced to Have Sex With Showbiz VIPs'". The Korea Times, 15 March 2009. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
  7. ^ Park Si-soo "'Police Tracing Sex Contacts of Late Actress Jang'". The Korea Times, 15 March 2009. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
  8. ^ Storm in South Korea over Jang Ja-yeon's suicide
  9. ^ Kyodo News, Japan Times, June 26, 2009, p. 1.

External links

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