Jang is a common Korean last name. For others with the same name, see Jang.
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Jang Ja-yeon (Hangul: 장자연; January 25, 1980 – March 7, 2009) was a South Korean actress. She is best known for her role as Park Sun-ja on the hit drama, Boys Over Flowers. Jang committed suicide in 2009, after suffering from depression.


Early life

Jang Ja-yeon was born on January 25, 1980 in Jeongeup, North Jeolla, South Korea. Her parents died in a car accident in 1999. She had an older sister and younger brother, whom she lived with at the time of her time.[1][2]

She received her education from Harksan High School, Gwangju University, where she earned her bachelor's in Journalism, and Chosun University.


In 2006, Jang made her debut in a television commercial.[3] Jang's first major role was in Boys Over Flowers (2009) as Park Sun-ja "Sunny". Her final roles were in the films, They Are Coming and Searching for the Elephant, which were released posthumously.[4]


Prior to her death, Jang had been suffering from clinical depression and had received medical treatment for her illness during the past year.[3] On March 7, 2009, she was found hanged at her home located in Seongnam, Gyeonggi. Jang had talked on the phone with her sister earlier that day about the "overwhelming stress" and also said that she "wanted to die".[3] Her sister was later unable to reach her on the phone and 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,[5] and found no evidence of foul play.[1]

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 at the time, denied the accusations.[8] Kim Sung-hoon, was later arrested in Tokyo, Japan 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] Twenty figures were investigated by the police, resulting in seven prosecutions. Kim was sentenced to one year in jail, two years of probation and 160 hours of community service.[10]

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,[1] 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 March 9, 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.[4]


Television dramas

Year Title Role Notes
2006 My Lovely Fool
2009 Boys Over Flowers Park Sun-ja


Year Title Role Notes
2009 They Are Coming Min-a
Searching for the Elephant Hye-mi



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2
  2. (Korean)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2
  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. 5.0 5.1

External links