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The recent death of actor Park Yong Ha (박용하) came as a shock to many of his fans. Pak is probably best known for his role in Winter Sonata (겨울연가), but he also had a singing career. The actor was found hanging from a cord cable, and the motive for the suicide are, as of yet, not entirely clear. There are some rumors floating around the net and as time goes on, more information may be revealed about the circumstances of his death.
The suicide of Ahn Jae hwan (안재환) came as a surprise because he was a comedian. It was only after his death that people realized he was hiding his financial problems with humor. Ahn did not die the usual manner that other celebrities did. His body was found in a car full of carbon monoxide. Unfortunately, Ahn’s suicide may have triggered the death of another celebrity suicide.
Major Korean actress Choi Jin Shil (최진실) also died of suicide by hanging. It makes you wonder, what would drive a woman who was rich, successful, talented and famous to commit suicide? Rumors say she was depressed, and when you look at her past, it may not be surprising as to why she committed suicide. Choi witnessed the murder of her manager and she was brutally beaten by her husband. In addition, she went through a humiliating divorce and custody battle in the public eye.
After rumors circulated on the net about how Ahn killed himself to relieve the debt he owed Choi, she allegedly became depressed about how she was being portrayed as a villain. The rumors were false, but she was unable to cope with her ruined reputation and she took her life. Choi’s brother, who was also an actor, committed suicide as well.
The three South Korean celebrity suicides mentioned above are not the only celebrity suicides. With all these suicides, many questions are being raised, such as, what do these suicides say about the Korean entertainment industry? In Choi’s case, the South Korean government contemplated whether to censor the internet to prevent further suicides. So what does this say about Korean internet culture? Does it need to be monitored? Some people say that it’s not an internet issue, but the stigma of depression in Korean society. So the debate rages on, with a tragedy in tow.