Celebrity News
Suicide of transgender Jang Chae-won belatedly revealed
by | October 5, 2008 | 21 Comments

Jang Chae-won, pre- and post-op

Another suicide is now just coming to light, having been overshadowed by the suicide last Thursday of famous actress Choi Jin-shil. This time the victim is transgender entertainer Jang Chae-won, 26, who passed away at home on October 3.

Seoul police gave a statement on October 6, saying, “Jang Chae-won was found dead at home by friends, who made the report. We’ll have to investigate further before determining more details about the incident, but as of this moment there are no suspicions of foul play.”

Perhaps the signs were there in advance; apparently Jang had started posting messages on her personal homepage last month that went, “Will the end of my life be a comedy or a tragedy?” “Life is really tiresome,” and “I wish everything would go the way I wanted.” However, notable is that her message on October 1 was different in tone: “Right now I’m so happy~”

However, her last message posted on October 3 read, “Mom, I’m sorry. I’ll do better next time.”

Jang Chae-won’s profile rose in 2004 when she appeared on SBS’s Truth Game television program as a man dressing as a woman, noted for being even prettier than many woman. Three years later, she took on a sex change operation and began to appear in the public eye once more.

This is really sad; I didn’t know much about her, but I do recall seeing her on TV back before her operation and thought she was really bright and cheerful.

Via Seoul Shinmun, Sport Seoul


21 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Row

    Another one? Sad, sad year for Korean entertainment. So many deaths, so tragic. I wish something could be done for people undergoing through difficult times in that country to cope and not take their lives. Somebody has to care.

  2. popcorn

    Wow…so many entertainers’ suicide….


  3. LaLa

    I agree with Row…i wish something could be done about this. It’s beginning to become a little scary.

  4. haezi

    this is really sad and brings up the important issues of depression (feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, etc that PREVENTS one from FUNCTIONING in society) and other psychiatric illnesses, a subject that has been suppressed in korea for far too long. i feel that most people tend to minimize the seriousness of depression since many don’t consider it a disease like diabetes or hypertension and refuse to see a doctor. consequently, they blame themselves for not being able to “shake” themselves out of it.
    even when one takes that momentous step to seek help, the treatment for depression is a longterm process that often requires therapy and family support, along with appropriate meds. the right combination of everything is an individual balancing act that is as much art as it is science. having said that, i feel that more koreans should encourage each other to seek treatment and support when a friend is showing signs of depression.

    does anyone know if these celebrity suicides have spurred on any copycat suicides? i hope not.

  5. haezi

    it is scary that korea is ranked #1 (followed by japan) for suicide rates among OECD countries (though the data is slightly dated and different for ea. country). its very disturbing and not many people go into psychiatry since koreans don’t often seek treatment.

  6. RYGY

    the ugly truth about entertainment world of Korea. From far most of the actors and actresses look perfect in many ways and we always dream of becoming like them or at least to be near them. Yet sadly, behind the glittering of media focus, they are fragile and frightened.

  7. asianromance

    RIP. I’ve never heard of her, but i’m sad for what she had to go through to make her stop wanting to live. So many suicides- I wish that therapy was more encouraged in Korea. I wonder if the suicide rate among entertainers is reflective of the suicide rate of koreans.

  8. marinafrisca

    it’s getting scary u know… i hope those ‘still life celebs’ who’s probably stress in their so called life seek fro treatment instead of ending their life. RIP !

  9. Jessica

    @ haezi

    > it is scary that korea is ranked #1 (followed by japan)
    > for suicide rates among OECD countries

    Wow, that is scary 🙁

    Asian countries still have this huge stigma attached to seeing a psychiatrist and I doubt many health insurance companies cover it either.

    So you have people who just aren’t getting the help they need…

  10. 10 Angela

    What is this?! Suicide Club come to life or something?! It’s like I’m getting desensitized… I’m not even surprised anymore. And how sad is that?!


    Something obviously needs to be done.

  11. 11 koalabear

    this is already getting scary, I thought that this case is a copy cat suicide, just a day after Choi Jin-shil’s death, I agree with all people posting here that something should be done the soonest possible time about it, how about Entertainment agencies having their resident Psychiatrist to check on the celebrities under stress, to prevent any such thing to happen again…and the Korean Government should really take a good look at this too

  12. 12 Ivuson

    I hear that they’re discussing cyberslander laws. I don’t agree with that because I feel that would violate the principle of freedom of speech but I do wish the people writing the slandering/hurtful messages would reach some sort of enlightenment and stop “reporting” such hurtful, usually false rumors. Words hurt and the consequences have not been pretty. Unfortunately though I get the sense that there are some that enjoy the negative impact they have on others and twistedly revel in what there words are capable.(Think Death Note)

  13. 13 sere

    I didn’t know her, but I’m sad for her. This struck me more than Choi Jin-shil’s death for so many reasons, one being that Jang Chae-won is 2 years my junior and…it’s always so sad and hard to accept when someone younger dies, isn’t it? You can’t help but wonder how did that happen? Why you get to survive when others don’t. I recently almost died (not a suicide attempt, mind you, but the end-result was pretty much the same) and yeah, I’m particularly vulnerable and sensitive to certain things, this -people dying- is one. So sad for her.

  14. 14 OurPointOfView

    Very sad. Too many people are not finding peace in this life. Hopefullly we will all become kinder to each other. More supportive

  15. 15 mimi

    his suiceide scary so his face too oMG!!

  16. 16 Jihwan

    Wow. It’s just the beginning of the month and all we’ve heard about it suicide news… this is really depressing.

  17. 17 M1gs

    she/he looks like that girl from soulmate? is that her??

  18. 18 javabeans

    No, it’s not Sa Kang from Soulmate. There’s a bit of a resemblance though (at least in the post-op photos).

  19. 19 chrono

    OMG! what’s going on with korean peolple? too many deaths this year T_T

  20. 20 cattleya

    oh my there is another one who just committed suicide on the 7th. he is a model/talent named KIM JI HOO.

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