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Suicide in Korea

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I don't expect there are a lot of Koreans here but honestly, is suicide the new 'trend' in Korea or something???? In the last month, I've lost count of all the suicide stories in the news among Korean celebrities.

Model Kim Ji-hoo commits suicide

Wednesday October 8, 2008

Following the suicide of actor Ahn Jae-hwan last month, following the suicide of Choi Jin-shil (whose death was related to accusations regarding her friend Ahn’s suicide) earlier this month, following the suicide of transgender entertainer Jang Chae-won just a day later, we have, sadly, yet another suicide.

On October 8, news was released of the suicide of model Kim Ji-hoo on October 6. Not many other details have been released, other than a police officer’s statement that this was indeed suicide (and not foul play).

Only 23, Kim Ji-hoo was a fashion model and actor, appearing on the MBC drama Before & After Plastic Surgery, family sitcom The Unstoppable High Kick, and tvN’s cable reality program Coming Out, where he came out as gay.

His body, found on the 7th, is currently at the hospital, with funeral services planned for the 9th.

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Another suicide plagues Korea

Monday October 6, 2008

Only a day after actress Choi Jin Shil (40) ended her own life, transgender entertainer Jang Chae Won (26) ended her life. Her friends found her lifeless on October 3rd and the police concluded that it was suicide today, October 6th.

Although Jang Chae Won was not as widely known as Choi Jin Shil, it’s very sad to lose another entertainer in the same week. Jang Chae Won was known as the second Harisu because she went through an extensive gender change procedure after appearing on variety show “Truth Game” and started her new life as a female entertainer.

The exact causes of her death is unknown at the moment.

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~”

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

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Choi Jin Sil committed suicide impulsively

Friday October 3, 2008

Police Friday concluded that actress Choi Jin-sil hanged herself on impulse under the influence of alcohol.

The interim conclusion was made after an autopsy was conducted and her written memo and accounts of witnesses and friends were studied.

Police found a notebook in which the late iconic actress expressed her innermost feelings in a memo. In it she said, “I am a loner being bullied… I can’t breathe.”

Yang Jae-ho of Seocho Police Station said investigators have secured several pieces of evidence that her inner world had been shuffling between death and life. Sometimes she managed to get over extreme mental stress through dialogue with friends, he said.

Choi came home Wednesday night after she halted shooting for a pharmaceutical commercial. A day earlier, she reportedly received telephone calls from a woman whom she accused of spreading a false rumor that she (Choi) was a loan shark who lent 2 billion won to TV actor Ahn Jae-hwan, who was also found dead in his car last month. The accused begged for Choi’s mercy and Choi reportedly cried all day long, which made her uncomfortable at the shoot the following day.

Choi kept on saying she was not a loan shark and that she would never want her children to hear that. She was worrying about it Friday, when her son was to attend a sports meeting. She reportedly said “I cannot go there feeling like this.” She was drunk when she got home.

Choi then called up a magazine reporter just after midnight Thursday and repeatedly told her that she wanted to die. She reportedly said, “This is the last time I am calling you. Please take care of my kids.”

The two text messages her makeup manager received read like this. “My dear, I hope you take care of my children if something happens to me,” Choi seemed to have thought about killing herself before taking the fatal action, the police assumed.

The National Scientific, Criminal and Investigation Laboratory has yet to establish whether the suicide involved drug taking.

She will be cremated Saturday following a funeral.

Two copycat suicides were reported Friday, one day after Choi killed herself.

A 55-year-old Park was found dead around midnight hanging from an elastic bandage in the bathroom of her apartment in Haenam, South Jeolla Province. Another woman with the family name Lee, was found dead in the same way in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, Friday morning. Park reportedly suffered from depression, the same disease Choi had.

Police are worried over more copycat suicides following Choi’s death.

The government and political circles moved swiftly to prevent such a syndrome. Health Minister Jeon Jae-hee Thursday urged people to think of suicide as a grave issue and not to follow it while Rep. Lim Doo-sung of the governing Grand National Party is seeking legislation to support those suffering from depression and to come up with a system to reduce suicide to the maximum extent.

“I hope the Werther effect does not affect anyone anymore. I hope the bill would bring hope to the desperate ones,” the lawmaker said.

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Korea Shocked Again with Ahn Jae Hwan Suicide

Monday September 8, 2008

Famous Korean actor Ahn Jae Hwan (36) lifeless body was discovered at 9.20am today inside his car. Police have classified this as suicide and are now investigating the actual motives that led to him committing suicide in his car.

Ahn Jae Hwan and wife Jung Sung Hee was one of the famous “celebrity couples” in the Korean entertainment industry and had just tied the knot last November after dating for just three months. His suicide is speculated to have come from his repeated failures at business ventures in 2008 or failing health.

He had actually left home a month ago with his whereabouts unknown and wondered around before apparently killing himself. Eye-witnesses reportedly saw his car parked in the same location without moving for the past two weeks and the body was already in a decomposition state when discovered.

A note was left behind although the exact details were not made known while two burnt honeycomb coal briquettes was also found which contributed to Ahn Jae Hwan’s death. His wife Jung Sung Hee did not turn up for her scheduled noon radio program recording citing illness. What a depressing 2008.

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Source for all: AsianFanatics.com

Ok as for how I know about all this: I'm mod in a Vietnamese entertainment forum and basically one of the things I do is translate news for them (i.e. how I practice my Vietnamese which I am sadly not as fluent in as I should be...). While I usually focus on news from China, the website where I get my news sources is an Asian one with news from all over Asia.

I know these are news of famous people so they're more publicised but honestly you can't deny that three suicides in a week is ... <_< . As if general world news is not depressing enough already lately. Seriously, what the HELL is going on?

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Maybe it's a murderer who sets up their victim as a suicide? Come on, so many suicides in a short time, and all of them famous is just uncanny. Or maybe it's just a cowardly fad. <_<

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I heard suicides in Korea are extremely common, on ALL levels (economic, political, social). I know some Koreans who have told me that ALOT of pressure is placed on them to excel in all aspects.

But, I have to say, since they are all famous, maybe there is something going on there. It seems to coincidental.

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Being of Korean background myself I've heard a lot about these incidents. My parents showed me the newspaper the other day.

I've heard from around that Ahn Jae Hwan's suicide was indeed connected with Choi Jin Sil's suicide because of the accusation that Choi had given money to Ahn.

I wouldn't call it a "trend" but I would say it's very odd.

I guess that also the transgendered people who committed suicide must have been under much stress and turmoil; Usually Korean's do not take too kindly to things of that sort...actually most Asian cultures in general..

I know that Choi's and Ahn's were most likely directly connected, however perhaps the other ones are also connected because I guess the first suicide was a catalyst for the other people to commit suicide as well.

*sigh* Life...

Edited by 17631

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I do think that it's the social pressure that's pushing people towards suicide. It's the same with Japan where heaps of teenagers and other people commit suicide because of stress from bullying, work, etc.

My Korean friend says that celebrity life is heavily dependent on fans support. He said in Korea the customer is always king, and unlike Western culture the fans are kings toward the celebrity instead of the other way around. So when the celebrity do something that might upset the fanbase everybody start to boycott that person through the internet forums and etc. Then the small things become big, like the "chinese whisper" effect. Imagine being famous because everybody hate you. It's no wonder why all the celebrities are suffering from depression.

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Not only Korea, but many asian countries have high suicide rates. Korean suicide have doubled in the last ten years and is extremely common among both teenagers and senior citizens. The problem is getting worse, but also the government is beginning to take action by doing things like put up barrier to stop people jumping in front of trains. It really is sad, but I don't think its a fad, but more of a realization pf an easy way out.

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Maybe they just somehow influenced each other. I mean, you go through a depression, you're in a bad situation and you don't see any way out. And then you hear about this other person who killed herself...and it just gives you an idea. Why not do the same thing?

I wouldn't say it's a trend, but it resembles one.

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Perhaps...but also it could be that there is a lack of concern over suicide?

People are perhaps not taking it seriously and don't want to believe that people are doing this.

Or they havn't learned to cope with stress properly, and don't see any other option.

However, I do believe that this resembles a trend..sadly..

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Well, that's a question I want to know an answer to.

As I am not living in Korea at the moment although I am a Korean,

I don't understand what the country is coming to.

I heard the news on the internet and my whole family was like... 'OMG'

Some people say it as a joke saying ' It's the new trend'

but if you think about it, they are having a hard time.

but that doesn't necessarily mean that suicide is a way out.

But thank GOD that the 'trend' ended.

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i think its seriously not just korea..

ppl who live in asian countries ar quite stressed out

area is compacted, population is overflooded, everything is efficient, busy and pressured

thats why ppl tend to get really really stressed and start to kill themselves when they reach a point of insanity

and of course there are heaps of ppl who can keep their sanities intact and live really happily

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uh huh I agree. seriously, they put alot~~~~~ of stress on the students and all.

I seriously think they should change the whole education system.

I mean like,, parents in korea put like 80% of their money for their children's education..

which I don't get... :)

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Funnily enough, it's not Korea that has the highest suicide rate but Lithuania. In fact, Korea isn't even in the "top ten list" for countries with highest suicide rates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_count...by_suicide_rate

This article may need to be updated. Please update the article to reflect recent events or newly available information, and remove this template when finished.

Heehee. But the retrieval date in the citation says Sept 2008 which isn't too far back.

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Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia :) So sad.

I really despise that orientation stems as the fundamental issue here :sick:

"Experts say that Korea is experiencing the so-called Werther Effect, where copycat suicides take place."

suicide itself is a very weird, biologically-speaking, topic. As a general topic in ecology frame-of-mind, but also in other perspectives.

I have a few Korean friends, and they update me on the stories all the time about suicide there. It's quiet sad. The whole Korean community here has attempted to really change their perspective a little, by dedicating "children filed day"..or "day in the park with the kids" through church activity. Very inspirational, and I hope it works

Edited by biochem

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That's really sad... so many people taking their own lives. I can't even imagine what they must go through before deciding to kill themselves... makes me grateful i got family and friends to support me.

I guess like everyone else was saying there's so much pressure to "succeed" and so many expectations placed on people nowadays that causes them to take the "easy" way out.

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Suicide is common everywhere in the world and its a personal choice. Yes there's been alot in korea recently, and yes asians have less laisse faire existences than most people (i should know my parents compare me and their school life constantly- yes, I am of Korean (south) descent); but if you look everywhere its the same.

We think its more stressful because we can compare, but you'll find people in America, Aus, France...etc.... that there are people who are not as hastled as koreans and find their lives stressful and commit suicide. theres lots of 'bundle suicides' accross all nations, ages, countries...etc... blah blah. (this is so like TOK i'm over it- in the mid of doing both presentation and essay and xtremely stressed!!!!)

finally- it's a personal choice - as long as we (you, me, reader - persoanlly) don't follow in their footsteps- that's what matters/

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I'm not saying it doesn't exist anywhere else and I'm not saying that it's not a personal choice (it wouldn't be suicide if it was forced on you =.=). Of course it's a personal choice but that's not the point. The point is it is still a social issue because the cases I mentioned here (there has been another case since that just got complicated bleh) are celebrity cases which have an affect on society as a whole. It's high publicised and have lead to copy-cat cases. So you can't deny it is a social problem.

I had this discuss with my friend a while ago about suicide, reasons for it (generally not the specifics) and why it just shouldn't be done...It was kind of a strange conversation because we've never talked about anything like that before. My friend was kind of feeling pessimistic and somehow we got talking about all these negative things but not because he was anywhere near contemplating suicide. But anyway, there's a reason why I hate the Twilight series and that's Bella's constant wish to die and the fact that she has no goal in life. It makes her one of the most despicable characters I've ever encountered. But I will refrain from ranting about Bella.

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