Sports

Wrestler Hana Kimura’s Death Being Blamed on Cyberbullying

The death of Japanese pro wrestler Hana Kimura is being tied to cyberbullying connected to an incident on the Netflix reality show on which she appeared. Kimura, 22, was found dead Friday in what appears to have been a suicide.

Hana Kimura’s death was sudden and unexpected

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Posts on Hana Kimura’s Twitter account, which has since been deactivated, point to the photogenic wrestling and reality TV star having committed suicide. The tweets showed her to be in an emotionally fragile state, with Kimura writing that she no longer wanted “to be a human.” Her last post on Instagram was a picture of Kimura and a cat, captioned, “I love you, have a long, happy life. I’m sorry.”

Kimura was found dead at her home on Friday. Stardom Wrestling, the promotion she joined in 2018, confirmed her death in a statement later that day.

Besides her increasingly successful wrestling career, Hana Kimura was part of the cast of Terrace House, a reality show carried by Netflix Japan. The show puts three men and three women together in front of cameras to chronicle their everyday lives and the dynamics of their relationships.

An incident on ‘Terrace House’ may have been the culprit

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Hana Kimura appeared in slightly more than half the 42 episodes of Terrace House, making her the veteran of the most recent cast. An episode that was taped in January and aired March 31 is being pointed to as a clue into what may have caused her to commit suicide.

In the episode, Kimura broke down in tears over an incident in which a housemate named Kai accidentally washed Kimura’s custom-made wrestling outfit, resulting in damage to it. Kimura said she had worked extensively with a designer on the look and fit of the outfit, which she said cost more than $1,000.

Although Kimura accepted part of the blame for not removing the costume from the washing machine, she was angry that Kai didn’t take the matter seriously and chided him for generally being irresponsible.

“These are as important as my life,” Hana Kimura said, according to RingsideNews.com. She then knocked Kai’s cap off his head in a fit of anger.

Social media lashed out at Hana Kimura

Though boisterous in the ring in her wrestling career at times, Hana Kimura was more reserved on the Terrace House reality show. Some fans of the show were taken aback by her confrontation with Kai, even though the two appeared to work out their differences.

Changes in the way she was perceived could be judged by the way criticism of Kimura accelerated on social media. Some of the comments tuned vicious, possibly sending her into the spiral leading to her suicide.

“Nearly 100 frank opinions every day,” she wrote in one of her final tweets. “I couldn’t deny that I was hurt. I’m dead.”

News of Kimura’s death led to some people lashing out at the cyberbullies.

“The death of Hana Kimura is an absolute tragedy,” pro wrestler Adam Pacitti tweeted. “I hope this serves as a reminder that interactions on social media can have a serious effect on the mental health of anyone, no matter who they are. Be kind. RIP.”

Meanwhile, former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama said the country should consider criminal charges for cyberbullies.