Transgender entertainer is latest in Korean string of suicides

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A transgender woman who found fame through appearing on a Korean game show after gender realignment has committed suicide in what experts are calling a ‘copycat suicide.’

Jang Chae-won, 26, was found hanged in the bathroom of her home in Seoul on Friday 3rd October.

She was found by a friend, who said that they had become worried when Ms Cheo-won did not answer phone calls from her boyfriend.

Police issued a statement on 6th October. It said:

“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.”

Ms Chae-won’s death came a day after the suicide of Korean actress Choi Jin-sil. Police
believe that Ms Chae-won committed suicide, inspired by the actress’ death, and upset by a breakup with her boyfriend.

Messages on her personal homepage have suggested to some that Ms Chae-won was unhappy.

She wrote comments such as: “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.”

Korean experts say that the country is seeing an example of the ‘Werther Effect’; a wave of suicides inspired by high-profile deaths.

This is based on information supplied by the Korean health authorities’ counselling centre.

After the suicide of actor Ahn Jae-hwan on 8th September, the counselling centre reported a sharp rise in calls from suicidal people, from 220 calls in September to 439 in October.

There have also been eight reported suicides since then, either mimicking Mr Jae-hwan’s or Ms Chae-won’s deaths.