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'Online bullying needs to stop': Tributes pour in after Japanese wrestler Hana Kimura dies aged 22

'Online bullying needs to stop': Tributes pour in after Japanese wrestler Hana Kimura dies aged 22
Hana Kimura, wrestler and star of Japanese reality show 'Terrace House', has died hours after posting a series of graphic images to social media, following prolonged online abuse due to a dispute featured on the television show.

Professional wrestler Kimura, 22, was a star of the Netflix reality series 'Terrace House', where she was involved in a dispute with another cast-member in January which resulted in her receiving a torrent of abusive messages from fans of the show. 

The cause of Kimura's death has not been immediately reported, although she posted a series of troubling images to social media, some of which appeared to show her harming herself.

A message which appeared on Friday on Kimura's Instagram Story featured a photo of her with her cat captioned: 'Goodbye'.

"Thank you to everyone who supported me," another message read. "I love it. I’m weak, I’m sorry."

In an incident on 'Terrace House' earlier this year, Kimura became involved in a dispute with another person on the show. Kimura, upset that the fellow housemate used the washing machine while her wrestling gear was inside, causing it to shrink, slapped the person across the face. 

As a result, many fans of the show identified her as the show's villain - a characterization she was unhappy with.

Kimura's death has prompted a series of comments from people inside and outside of the wrestling industry, many of whom have highlighted the toxic nature of reality television and the spate of online abuse which public figures are being subjected to on social media.

MMA star Cris Cyborg was among those to call for an end to online harassment after posting her thoughts on Kimura's death, while several of Kimura's colleagues followed suit.

'Terrace House' is a reality television program which has spawned five series and one feature film and follows the lives of six strangers - three men and three women - as they move into a house with one another.

Despite being produced for a Japanese audience, the show has developed an international following. Filming has been delayed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and there is no indication yet from producers about the future of the Netflix series.