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Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The Dark Side of Korean Stardom

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Mar. 20 2019, Published 4:09 p.m. ET

About 8 years ago when Korean Pop had been well into the American market, a friend of mine mentioned how the girls in the groups are always abused. I was shocked at how nonchalantly she said it. I go, “are you serious?” and she says “yeah, their agents just pass them around to have sex with higher ups. They’re pretty much treated like prostitutes. It’s a really awful life.”

A Suicide Case Reopened

Fastforward to now that I’m much older and these allegations are coming to light much more. Jang Ja Yeon‘s suicide case reopening calls for a thorough investigation into the abuses she suffered at the hands of her agent.

Jang Ja Yeon wasn’t a KPop star, she was an actress, but a big start in Korea nonetheless.

Jang Ja Yeon, star of South Korean soap opera Boys Over Flowers, committed suicide in 2009 and left behind a 7-page suicide note written a week before her death.

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A 7 Page Detailed Suicide Note

According to The Guardian, the suicide note “chronicled the sexual and other favours she was expected to extend to progress in the cutthroat ‘Korean Wave’ of TV and film.”

According to her suicide note, she was regularly beaten by her agent, Kim Sung-hoon, who forced her to have sex with VIPs including directors, media execs, and CEOs.

When the police raided his office “they discovered a shower and bed in a ‘secret room’ on the third floor.”

A Witness Determined for Justice

Actress Yoon Ji-Oh testified as a new witness to the case where she explained having seen Mr. Cho, a former reporter, sexually harassing Jang Ja Yeon. She called more witness to come forward:

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“There are some celebrities who know more than I do. I’m not the only witness. I ask you to testify with me. I have never sought any compensation. No matter how the criminals are punished, Jang Ja Yeon won’t come back to life. In return for a long fight that can’t be compensated with anything, I hope that the truth will be revealed.”

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“There are some celebrities who know more than I do. I’m not the only witness. I ask you to testify with me. I have never sought any compensation. No matter how the criminals are punished, Jang Ja Yeon won’t come back to life. In return for a long fight that can’t be compensated with anything, I hope that the truth will be revealed.”

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