Who is the Real 'Hot Issue'?

The name Ha Ri-su, which supposedly takes its origin from the English phrase "hot issue," has indeed become just that. The conflict over the use of the name, which broke out when the transgender entertainer Ha Ri-su left her agency, has now spiraled into a court struggle.

Ha, 28, whose legal name is Lee Kyeong-eun, debuted in 2001 as a cosmetics model. Her TV commercial cleverly hinted that the sexy and feminine model is a transgendered person. As soon as she appeared on TV, Ha became an instant pop icon with her peculiar sexual identity and talent.

However, Ha's career seems to be in jeopardy now. When she announced her decision last month to leave TTM Entertainment, which represented her and gave her the name Ha Ri-su, the company responded by not allowing Ha to use the name.

TTM Entertainment maintains that the company holds the patent to the name Ha Ri-su. "We will produce a second and third Ha Ri-su," said a TTM Entertainment official. Almost immediately after Ha's departure, the entertainment company launched the second Ha Ri-su, Jennifer Wisen, a 19-year-old girl of mixed ethnic heritage - her mother is Korean and her father American.

The original Ha who went by Ri-su in the meantime has recently set about to reclaim her stage name, Ha Ri-su. "TTM Entertainment said that 'Ha Ri-su' is patented. However, it is not true," said the transgendered entertainer. "I will get my name back."

The conflict over the name is becoming serious. Recently, the original Ha Ri-su was appointed as the goodwill ambassador of the Korea Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities and the second Ha Ri-su was nominated as the goodwill ambassador of Pearl S. Buck International. They both used the name Ha Ri-su.

The original Ha will appoint a lawyer to handle her case.


(C) Copyright 2000 Digital Korea Herald. All rights reserved. Contact us for more information