An Osaka man has been charged after sending hateful messages to Hana Kimura prior to her death.
In a statement to AFP, the Tokyo Prosecutors’ Office stated they made “summary indictment against a man in his 20s” following the May 2020 death of Hana Kimura, wrestling star and cast member of Netflix show Terrace House.
The man was charged with making public insults, but will not face trial. The report stated a fine of 9,000 yen ($80 USD) was levied against the man.
He sent several messages to Kimura via Twitter such as “Is there any value to your life?” and “When are you going to die?”. These messages were sent up until her death on May 23. The man has since apologized to her family via email.
Following Kimura’s death, hundreds of posts containing abusive comments against the wrestling and reality tv star were deleted. Images of the posts were captured by her family, sent to police, and used in the investigation. Nearly 1200 posts from 600 accounts were are being investigated.
Kimura had been at the receiving end of online bullying, following an episode of Japanese reality show Terrace House last October.
During the episode, she had a confrontation with a male housemate after he ruined the outfit she wore during the dark match prior to Wrestle Kingdom 14.
According to investigators, Kimura left a handwritten letter for her family and friends, which was found after her death.
Media Watchdog Finds No Human Rights Violations By Fuji TV
The Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization (BPO) found no human rights violations after reviewing the reality show in response to a claim Kyoko Kimura, Hana’s mother.
According to The Japan Times, the BPO said Terrace House had “problems in terms of broadcasting ethics”, but found it difficult to recognize human rights violations. It noted the Fuji TV offered “a certain level of psychological support to Hana Kimura after she harmed herself following the distribution of an episode online before it was aired on TV”. The committee said, “it cannot be said that her ability to make free decisions had been stripped.”
In a statement, Fuji Television said “We take the (BPO’s) decision seriously and will make organizational efforts to tackle social media-related issues, including through a newly established department in charge of such matters,”
“I wanted to help Hana, and I’m thinking about it,” Kimura’s mother stated in a news conference. “I feel helpless.”
Kimura’s mother has launched an anti-bullying non-profit organization in memory of her late daughter. You can find out more here.
For those in distress, there are many hotlines that are available 24/7 all over the world. You can learn more here.