'Online bullying needs to stop': Tributes pour in after Japanese wrestler Hana Kimura dies aged 22
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."
View this post on Instagram
I'm so sorry to have to tell you all that Hana passed away last night at the age of 22. I started this page about a year and a half ago because, simply, I was a fan of Hana. I never expected it to grow to almost 20,000 followers. People often talk about Hana's looks but anyone who followed her career knew there was far more to her. She had a unique warmth, energy and overflowing charisma. I never had the opportunity to meet her but every story I've ever heard has been that she left any fan she met with a positive, memorable experience. Hana had so much potential to be a superstar in wrestling. I don't know how many comments I've seen of people asking when she would go to WWE or AEW. I'm confident she would have been a success wherever she went but now we can only imagine the path her career might have taken. All I can say is that, to the fans, Hana was a special talent and, to her friends, she was a special person. Wrestling and the world as a whole are both poorer for losing her. Rest in peace, Hana.
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.
🙏🏾 my heart breaks hearing the news of Hana Kimura 💔 online bullying needs to stop.— @CrisCyborg on Youtube (@criscyborg) May 23, 2020
Stardom fans,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
Distraught. I don’t even know what to say or feel. Numb. I can’t express it. RIP Hana Kimura. Such a wonderful human being. The gaijin helper. All the potential. A beautiful soul. Kind. I just can’t even put in to fucking words how upsetting this is. I hope you found peace 🙏🏻— JAMIE HAYTER • ジェイミー ヘイター 🧡 (@jmehytr) May 23, 2020
'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.