Professional wrestler Hana Kimura died by suicide in May following several instances of cyberbullying. Her mother, Kyoko Kimura, recently provided further details about the death, as well as an incident on the reality show Terrace House that prompted the cyberbullying. Kyoko alleged that the producers pressured Kimura to act more violent and aggressive on the reality show.
Kyoko spoke to Bunshun and provided further details about one specific moment that led to the cyberbullying. 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. 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."
Hasnain provided further details, saying that Kimura told her mother that she wanted to act professionally on camera. However, the producers pressured her to behave violently instead. "They told her to play up her Heel persona from 1 to 100," Kyoko said. She added that Kimura did not want to get violent or slap anybody due to it being wrong and unprofessional.
According to Hasnain, the writer of the articles reached out to Fuji TV for comments about the hat incident and allegedly pressuring Kimura to act violently. The company said, "it's under investigation." They also said, "it can't be confirmed as a fact to be questioned about." Fuji TV re-aired the costume incident episode on May 18, five days before Kimura's death.
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." The newest member of WWE's roster also said that anyone who partook in the online bullying could never consider themselves a 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.