TW Pop Culture Weekly: Japanese Celebrities React to Hana Kimura’s Death

The 2019-2020 season of Terrace House canceled after show's star takes her own life after being the victim of online bullying

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Last week, emerging pro wrestling star Hana Kimura took her own life after experiencing a barrage of negative online comments following her appearance on the popular reality TV show Terrace House. She was 22. Due to the tragic incident, the 2019-2020 season of the show has been canceled while Japan itself has, yet again, been forced to address the country’s problem with bullying. This time, though, it’s Japanese celebrities who seem to be pushing the conversation forward.

‘One Word Can End Someone’s Life’

Following Kimura’s suicide, popular female wrestler Asuka took to Twitter to mourn her tragic death while also revealing that, for years, she too received death threats. “Before I came to America, I’d get daily e-mails telling me to die, to not destroy the world of female pro-wrestling, to get out of there,” she wrote on May 23, concluding, accurately, that the entire situation “is scary.”

Model and actress Akemi Darenogare (Hanasaku Ashita, Ubai Ai, Fuyu), who was recently and not-so-subtly accused by a tabloid of drug use, put it best when she said that “We shouldn’t forget that social media has the power to save or end lives. Your one word can end someone’s life.”

Unfortunately some have said that this is the price of fame and that if you don’t like it, you should quit. Popular YouTuber Yorihito said as much in his May 23 video. But as idol singer Erina Mano explained, those are the worst words ever to say to a victim, urging people who feel the need to say those things to just quit social media altogether.

They won’t, of course, but we can always dream.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Ghibli Museum

The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka is a pretty secretive place. They only sell tickets in advance via reservation, and there’s no photography allowed inside the complex dedicated to some of the most famous anime movies ever. But the coronavirus is changing all of that. Ever since temporarily closing because of the pandemic, their staff has been putting together a video journal of the museum, allowing guests to “get lost together” in the worlds of Hayao Miyazaki and other visionaries at the famous Studio Ghibli.

The video posted on May 19 focuses on the Central Hall. With its steampunk elevator, stained-glass windows featuring scenes from such movies as Kiki’s Delivery Service, the giant fan at the top and just the general grandness of it all, the hall is like the very essence of Ghibli movies: old-timey but also somehow timeless. Check out the rest of the videos and maybe start planning a visit to the museum as soon as the pandemic is over.

Movies and Shows to Watch This Summer

On June 2, WOWOW starts airing the new show Year 2020 Love of May about two people who divorced years ago and have just started talking again to each other. Besides tackling a topic that we rarely see on Japanese TV, this human drama is worth getting excited for because of the two main actors. The ex-husband will be played by Yo Oizumi, one of the busiest Japanese performers ever who appears in two to three movies or shows a year, including A Banana? At This Time of Night?, Tokyo Ghoul, Sanadamaru, or Lucky Seven.

Every Oizumi role is different and each one is acted to perfection, which can also be said about the performances of Yo Yoshida, who will be playing his ex-wife in the upcoming show. A veteran actress, Yoshida has appeared in Hit Me Anyone One More Time, Whistleblower, Little Giants and many more movies and shows. With the combined talents of the two acting powerhouses, Year 2020 Love of May is shaping up to be a show you won’t want to miss.

For something a tad less heavy, though, there is the movie Hachioji Zombies. Premiering on July 17, the movie will be about zombies. Who have to learn to dance in order to move on to the next world. Also, they’re all ridiculously handsome because, well, Twilight was a hit with pretty vampires so zombies are the next logical step. Their teacher will be played by Kenjiro Yamashita, part of the pop dance group J Soul Brothers, in case you were worrying if this dancing zombie movie will be realistic.

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