Reality star and wrestler’s death prompts cyber bulling discussion

Reality star and wrestler’s death prompts cyber bulling discussion

Content warning: This article contains discussion about suicide and self-harm.

Japanese pro wrestler and Terrace House star Hana Kimura passed away on Saturday, 23 May.

She was 22.

It appears that online bullying played a role in Ms Kimura taking her own life.

The joshi company that employed Ms Kimura, Wonder Ring Stardom, released a statement confirming her passing.

Another statement released by the company said that Hana, “marched to the beat of her own drum.”

“She was funny, charismatic and a truly kind person. The worldwide outpouring of emotion has been a blessing to the Stardom family. Surely Hana is looking down and smiling at all of the love. Be kind to one another, and thank you.”

Tributes for Ms Kimura have since flowed in from all over the world. Her passing has prompted discussion about cyberbullying and social media.

Ms Kimura was well regarded by the wrestling industry. On 4 January, Ms Kimura appeared in the opening match for New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom, one of the biggest shows in the Japanese wrestling calendar. In April 2019, she wrestled in ‘the world’s most famous arena’ Madison Square Garden.

She was also one of the major stars of Terrace House, remembered for a particularly explosive confrontation with another housemate. Netflix has delayed streaming of new episodes since her passing.

This incident was greeted with abuse by a portion of the show’s fanbase. Ms Kimura mentioned in a worrying series of tweets that she had received around 100 messages a day from the show’s fans, condemning her for her actions. She said that this had taken a toll on her mental health.

Racism has also been cited as part of the cyberbullying (Ms Kimura had Indonesian heritage).

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