[Opinion] Two Sides of the Same Coin

The current investigation involving Burning Sun, Seungri, Jung Joon-young and their associates are one side of a coin. On the other side being Jang Ja-yeon’s life, death, and legacy.

Jung Joon-young (left), Jang Ja-yeon, Lee Seung-hyun – OSEN News database

Police have been having a busy 2019. For the past few weeks, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has taken on multiple cases revolving around former BIGBANG member Lee Seung-hyun, popularly known as Seungri, and singer and TV celebrity Jung Joon-young that involves sex trafficking, creating and sharing illegal sexual footage, using and distributing drugs, rape, and collusion with corrupt police.

As the investigation of the two moves forward, several other K-pop idols including Highlight’s Yong Jun-hyung and F.T. Island’s Choi Jong-hoon become implicated in these allegations, their cases have started to expose the seedy underbelly of the K-pop world.

Past reports exposing unfair “slave” contracts, abusive and intense rehearsal and training sessions, and agencies’ tendency to overwork their talent for profit have painted the mechanisms fueling the K-pop machine in a negative light. However, adding in the factor that the stars themselves can be equally unethical adds another profound layer of grime to the picture. It illustrates that the issues exposed in these investigations and the actions that these stars engaged in are a result of larger societal factors.

These factors include but are not limited what Crystal Tai, a writer for South China Morning Post argues is “South Korea’s culture of toxic masculinity” and what Haeryun Kang, a freelance journalist and editor, says it is the “pervasive power inequality between men and women in countless, unseen sectors of Korean society.”

Indeed it is clear that Lee, Jung, and other men who were empowered in their masculinity, fame, and wealth, took advantage of several women wrongfully and illegally for their benefit, entertainment, and pleasure. While Lee and Jung’s victims have not publically identified themselves out of fear, they do have a voice in the form of the late Jang Ja-yeon and her advocate Yoon Ji-oh.

Like these unknown women, the talented, pretty, and well-liked Jang Ja-yeon was victimized by men in positions of considerable power including show producers, journalists, media and entertainment executives at the behest of her agent Kim Sung-hoon who pimped her out for preferential treatment.

Pallbearers carry a picture of Jang Ja-yeon during her funeral procession – OSEN News database

Jang revealed this information in a seven-page letter with a list of 31 names she left behind after taking her life just five months after her debut movie role as Sunny in 2009’s film Boys Over Flowers. Notably, while her case was hastily closed in trials following her death, it was reopened in the midst of the 2018 #MeToo movement after prosecutors discovered ack of conduct on behalf of the investigators at the time.

Currently, her case is ongoing with details unfolding alongside Lee Seung-hyun’s and Jung Joon-young’s, acting as a ying to their yang. The interesting juxtaposition of these investigations plays like two sides of the same coin.

On one side are the salacious details of powerful men uninterested in the rule of law as they drugged, raped, filmed, and trafficked women for their own means. On the other, is the heartbreaking tale of a woman who was on the receiving end of their dehumanization and is an example of the real-life consequence to their actions.

MBC “News Desk” anchor interviews Yoon Ji-oh – MBC

Unfortunately, I may have painted Jang as too much of victim. Jang’s side of the coin shouldn’t be viewed as a sad and powerless story, but also as a woman who sought change. Her friend and advocate Yoon Ji-oh who witnessed some of the abuse Jang endured said that she doesn’t believe (link in Korean) that the seven-page letter Jang wrote was a suicide note. Instead, Jang intended those pages of papers were to act as legal documents to enact justice.

But how that coin will land? Will it heads where justice is served a movement to rejects the actions of these men and to expose and punish those like them? Or will it be tails, where only the surface is cleaned but the scum beneath remains?




By O.C


Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates

Seungri Voluntarily Goes to Police for Investigation

Last night (Feb. 27 KST) Seungri voluntarily went to police for investigative purposes. Some analysts believe that the timing of his appearance was made at a time to draw the least amount of attention to the event.

Image source – OSEN News database

Around 8:30 last night, YG Entertainment announced that BIGBANG member Seungri, real name Lee Seung-hyun, would go to police voluntarily at 9 p.m. Notably, the announcement was made about a day since SBSfunE reported that he solicited prostitutes for foreign investors. Further, it has also been about a day since the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s investigation team launch an internal investigation into the allegations.

True to his word, the singer appeared at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s station at 9 p.m. where he was met with media cameras and reporters. However, the analyst believes that Lee time the announcement and his submission to police strategically so as to draw the least amount of attention to the situation.

27일 오후 8시 30분(한국 시간) 도널드 트럼프 미국 대통령과 김정은 북한 국무위원장이 하노이의 메트로폴 호텔에서 재회하고 있다. [AP=연합뉴스]

Mainly because its timing coincided with the second meeting between U.S. president Donald Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam. At 8:30 p.m., when the announcement was made, the viewership of this meeting was at 28.3 percent.

Additionally, some have said that Lee’s intention is to change the momentum of the situation by making a surprise visit to police while the investigation is still in the internal stage. When he arrived at the police station at 9 p.m., Lee said that he is “sorry for the trouble” he’s caused and said he will be investigated so that “we can get to the bottom of the story quickly,” before entering the building.


While in police custody, YG Entertainment said he will take a urine and hair test. Going forward, the signer will cooperate with investigation requests.

Meanwhile, before submitting to police, Lee and his agency denied that the SBSfunE report and said that the text message conversations were falsified. In response, a reported involved in the article stated that they stood by the contents of the report and that the only content left out of the text messages was overly vulgar language.




Source (1)(2)(3)

By O.C