Hana Kimura, a professional wrestler and star of the popular Netflix reality TV show “Terrace House,” has died at the age of 22. Breaking the shocking news, World Wonder Wing Stardom, a wrestling league Kimura was signed to, took to Twitter with a short, heartbreaking statement on Saturday.
Stardom fans,— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) May 23, 2020
We are very sorry to report that our Hana Kimura has passed away.
Please be respectful and allow some time for things to process, and keep your thoughts and prayers with her family and friends.
We appreciate your support during this difficult time.
“Please be respectful and allow some time for things to process, and keep your thoughts and prayers with her family and friends,” the statement read on Twitter. “We appreciate your support during this difficult time.”
Coming within days of Kimura’s complaints over social media of dealing with extreme online bullying, the news of her death has raised many questions.
How dangerous can cyber bullying get? How ethical is it to have younger people living with a professional and public career under the harsh glare of reality TV and social media?
Kimura was a cast member of “Terrace House Tokyo,” a reality show centered around the interactions and attempts of six young people to date one another after they are thrown together in a house. Their actions are subject to constantly filming, scrutiny and judgement by a panel of commentators in a studio and thousands of fans online.
While the show may have been a successful one, its cast members clearly faced immense pressure. In the last few days leading up to the news of her death, Kimura had been posting content regarding the bullying she faced online.
Kimura’s last Instagram post showed a photo of herself with eyes downcast, with her cat.
“I love you, have a long, happy life. I’m sorry,” she wrote.
A series of now deleted Twitter messages also showed images of slashed wrists, in reference to hate messages on social media. The messages also said she didn’t want to “be a human” anymore.
“Nearly 100 frank opinions every day. I couldn’t deny that I was hurt. I’m dead,” she wrote. “Thank you to everyone who supported me. I love it. I’m weak, I’m sorry.”
With her blunt pink hair and a lovable personality, Kimura had been a star of the Netflix show’s latest season. Fans seemed to love both her fearsome side in the wrestling ring and her innocence and charm off it.
Internet erupted with heartfelt responses from celebrities and fans alike, who knew and loved Kimura.
WWE wrestler Dakota Kai, whose real name is Cheree Crowley, blamed cyberbullies for her ‘tragic’ death.
“F bullies. Y’all need to wake up … these are REAL people. Not just characters in a TV show, movie or whatever. Tragic. RIP Hana. Gone too soon,” she tweeted.
Adam Pacitti, managing director of wrestling website Cultaholic, has called her death “an absolute tragedy.”
“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,” he wrote on Twitter.
Professional wrestler Karen Glennon posted she was “heartbroken” while Canadian wrestler Kylie Morgan called the news “absolutely heartbreaking.”
Just last year, two young South Korean K-pop singers, Sulli and Goo Hara, both were found dead within weeks of each other. Having suffered vicious online attacks, both their deaths highlighted the intense pressure on young women in South Korea’s entertainment industry.
Kimura was the daughter of successful female pro-wrestler Kyoko Kimura.
Filming of the latest season of Terrace House Tokyo was suspended in April due to the coronavirus.
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