Hana Kimura, a Japanese professional wrestler and popular member of the latest series of Netflix’s reality show “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020,” has tragically passed away, her agency World Wonder Ring Stardom confirmed on Saturday, May 23. She was just 22.
Although the cause of death has not been officially revealed as of present, the Japanese media is widely reporting that she is believed to have killed herself using toxic gas at her Tokyo apartment where she was living alone. Shortly before Kimura passed away, she had issued a series of troubling social media posts on her Twitter account, implying she had been cyber-bullied. Several apparent suicide notes, including one addressed to her mother, saying “Thank you for giving birth to me,” were found in her apartment, investigators revealed.
Who was Hana Kimura?
Daughter of former wrestler and mixed martial artist Kyoko Kimura, Hana Kimura was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1997. She made her debut in 2016 and later that year captured her first title, the JWP Junior Championship. In 2019, Kimura joined World Wonder Wing Stardom and went on to twice win the Artist of Stardom Championship, a professional wrestling six-woman tag team championship owned by Stardom.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) May 4, 2020
Foreign audiences will most likely know her from the most recent series of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.” A bundle of energy when she entered, Kimura quickly became one of the most popular members of the show as she came across as a shy, yet bubbly and strong, independent woman.
Things started to change for Kimura after she got involved in a heated argument in the house and some social media users started writing negative comments about her online. On Twitter, Kimura implied that she had been cyber-bullied and last Friday posted a series of graphic, disturbing images of self-mutilation that were later deleted along with a note translated as:
“Nearly 100 frank opinions every day. I couldn’t deny that I was hurt. I’m dead. Thank you for giving me a mother. It was a life in which I wanted to be loved. Thank you to everyone who supported me. I love it. I’m weak, I’m sorry. I don’t want to be a human anymore. Thank you, everyone. I love you. Bye.”
In what became her final, heartbreaking post on Instagram, Kimura shared a picture of her cat with the words, “I love you, have a long, happy life. I’m sorry.”
Kimura also posted four Instagram stories, the last of which read “Goodbye” (Sayonara).
The following day, Stardom announced that the 22-year-old had died on both its English and Japanese Twitter accounts, saying (in Japanese) that there are still “many things that aren’t clear” but they will continue to investigate the circumstances of her passing.
“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.”
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.
— We Are Stardom (@we_are_stardom) May 23, 2020
Kimura was reportedly found collapsed on her bed with a plastic bag covering her head. Her body was discovered by her mother, who, worried that she couldn’t get hold of her daughter, went to check up on her at around 3 am on Saturday morning. A piece of paper was attached to a door at Kimura’s apartment that read “Toxic gas being generated” in Japanese.
Fans around the world respond
Kimura’s final Instagram post went viral when fans immediately sensed that she could have been in danger. Comments kept flooding in, with many begging her to “please stay alive” and expressing their love to her.
As the news of her untimely passing was later released, the hashtag #RIPHanaKimura became trending on Twitter on Saturday, with many fans bringing up the discussion of cyber-bullying.
Only 22….. 💔
I’m so hurt that social media steals another life and we’ve no idea how to change this often toxic online culture.
— Alex McCarthy (@AlexM_talkSPORT) May 23, 2020
What do you see here?
— Angel – 天使 🇭🇰 🇹🇼 🇯🇵 (@EuphoricAngel91) May 23, 2020
— Noelle Foley (@NoelleFoley) May 23, 2020
Terrace House’s Response
In a statement released on the show’s official Twitter account on May 27, Fuji TV, the producers of the reality show, announced that the production of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” has been canceled following Kimura’s death. “We are taking this matter very seriously,” the statement read.
尚「TERRACE HOUSE TOKYO 2019-2020」に関しましては、制作を中止する事を決定致しました。
— TERRACE HOUSE (@TH6TV) May 27, 2020
If you or someone close to you is going through an emotional crisis because of cyberbullying or anything else that may be putting your or their wellbeing at risk, please know that there are available resources to help. The TELL Lifeline is available for those who need free and anonymous counseling in English or Japanese at 03-5774-0992 (9am–11pm every day) or via chat (Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10:30pm–2am). In case of emergency, please call 119 in Japan for help.
*This article was originally written and published on May 23 and updated with the latest information on May 27.