Kyoko Kimura calls out Hana’s friends after revealing staff pressured her daughter to stage scenes on the show.

On 23 May, pro-wrestler Hana Kimura, a starring member of the Terrace House: Tokyo 2019-2020 reality TV show on Netflix, was found dead in her Tokyo apartment. She was 22 years old.

Kimura’s suicide followed months of bullying on social media, which reached a peak after “The Costume Incident” aired on the show. During this incident, Kimura shouted at fellow housemate Kai, with whom tensions had been simmering for weeks, hitting his cap off his head after he inadvertently shrank her cherished, expensive wrestling costume in the washing machine.

The online hate Kimura received, in spite of the fact that many viewers felt the outburst was warranted, was widely condemned by fans, celebrities and even Japanese politicians, who said they would bolster countermeasures against online cyberbullies.

However, this week, Kimura’s mother, former pro-wrestler Kyoko Kimura, revealed in an interview with weekly magazine Shuukan Bunshun that “The Costume Incident” was actually staged by the show’s producers.

Kimura’s final Instagram post reads: “I love you, live a long and happy life. I’m sorry.”

Hana’s mother said her daughter spoke to her about the incident on 18 May, five days before her death, during a car ride home from a birthday party held for Hana’s grandmother. Hana was in tears when she spoke, revealing that staff wanted her to act like a pro-wrestler character on the show from the outset, telling her to “turn level-one-type situations up to 100”.

She went on to say that staff behind the scenes really stirred things up before the costume incident, telling her “it’d be fine to go so far as to basically slap the guy across the face”.

Hana said she felt pressured to make the encounter dramatic, but she knew as a pro-wrestler it wouldn’t be right to hit him so she hit the baseball cap on his head instead. Kimura didn’t expect such backlash, given staff on the show were egging her on, which ultimately left her “unable to trust the staff“.

Shuukan Bunshun also published a series of Line messages from Hana to friends and co-stars that read:

“My work stuff got ruined so staff told me to lose it on camera.”
”Staff fanned the flames before filming.”
“They said to basically hit him across the face, but of course I can’t do that.”
“It’s not real so I feel really bad about it. Sorry.”

According to the publication, Kai Kobayashi, the co-star who bore the brunt of Hana’s anger during the incident, also came out to confirm that Hana had spoken to him on numerous occasions about the problem of staged scenes.

Fuji TV, the station that broadcasts Terrace House in Japan, declined to comment on the interview but said they were “looking into” claims of staged scenes on the show.

After the magazine containing the interview with Hana’s mother went on sale on 2 July, her revelations created headlines in Japan. However, that same day, Terrace House cast members who lived with Hana during filming of the show were pictured partying on a rooftop in Tokyo.

▼ Toshiyuki Niino shared this photo of the gathering on Twitter with the caption “Fam”.

▼ He also uploaded this series of photos on Instagram.

Niino went on to share videos of the party on Instagram Stories as well, where a number of Hana’s former housemates appeared to be having a great time, celebrating with cake while inebriated and laughing and joking with each other. In one video, Niino could be seen posing with co-stars Reo Kanao, Emika Mizukoshi, Ruka Nishinori and Yume Kobayashi, saying “We are Terrace House.

Needless to say, Kimura’s mother was less than impressed to see Hana’s supposed friends celebrating so soon after her daughter’s death, tweeting out a message of her own that read:

“This timing, when Shuukan Bunshun went on sale? Hana’s 49th memorial day hasn’t even taken place yet people from that sketchy show are partying? I guess the backbone of it is it’s not their problem. I don’t mean to criticise them individually, but it’s just sad. Disappointing.”

▼ Kyoko Kimura’s tweet.

According to Japanese buddhist funeral traditions, the family of a deceased individual stays in mourning for 49 days, during which time the urn containing the bones of the departed is kept in the family home before being interred in a ceremony on the 49th day. Niino’s decision to share photos from the party publicly within this time period is at the very least insensitive to her family, and many people online were quick to side with Hana’s mother over her statement.

Since her daughter’s passing, Kyoko Kimura has been vocal about defending Hana as she wants to help “restore her daughter’s honour”. She wants everyone to know that her daughter was manipulated by staff to play the character of a “heel” or “villain” from the pro-wrestling world and her death shouldn’t be seen solely as a result of cyberbullying.

If you or someone you know is in Japan and having suicidal thoughts, there are people here to help. Click here for more info.

Source: Niconico News
Featured image: Instagram/niinotoshiyuki

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