Professional wrestler Hana Kimura died by suicide in May following several instances of cyberbullying and a controversial staged scene from the reality series Terrace House: Tokyo. Months later, one of the people that allegedly harassed her is possibly facing charges. A man from the western Japan prefecture of Osaka is "likely to be referred" to prosecutors for his hateful messages.
According to Nikkei Asia, the Tokyo police suspect the man, who is in his 20s, of having cyberbullied Kimura on Twitter. He allegedly left anonymous comments on Twitter. Some examples included "Is there any value to your life?" and "Hey, when are you going to die?" The posts surfaced on her profile in mid-May.
The outlet also confirms that the suspect is not the only person that left the hateful messages on Twitter. Around 200 accounts left an estimated 300 messages. However, the Tokyo police reportedly deemed that the unidentified man needed to be charged with criminal liability due to his posts being "particularly malicious."
Following Kimura's death, her mother provided further news to outlets. Kyoko Kimura alleged that the incident on Terrace House: Tokyo that prompted the cyberbullying was not a natural moment. She said that the producers pressured her daughter to be more aggressive and violent on the reality series.
According to a translated interview from Bunshun, Kyoko said that Kimura slapped the hat off Kai Kobayashi's head after he ruined her wrestling outfit. According to the translated text, the staff allegedly instigated this incident on the TV series. They wanted Kimura to slap Kobayashi in the face as part of the new "aggressive" personality, but she opted for the hat as a compromise.
"On May 15th, Hana celebrated her grandmother's birthday with her grandmother & mother," Farrah Hasnain, a writer for the Japan Times, tweeted after translating the interview. "When her mom, Kyoko Kimura, was driving her home, she broke down into tears. She told her mom that Terrace House was forcing her to behave more obnoxiously on-camera for views."
When news of Kimura's death originally surfaced in May, the wrestling community responded by condemning bullying in all forms. WWE star Paige said that the internet could be a "cruel, disgusting place" while Simone Johnson said that Kimura was "bullied to death." Johnson, the daughter of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, also said that anyone who joined in the online bullying of Kimura or anyone else could never consider themselves a true WWE fan. Many fans agreed with this sentiment and called for the bullies to face prosecution.
If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.