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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Death of Japanese Wrestler Hana Kimura Returns Attention To The Reality Of Cyberbullying

It appears popular wrestler Hana Kimura committed suicide, and some recent online bullying may have played a part.
It appears popular wrestler Hana Kimura committed suicide, and some recent online bullying may have played a part.
Photo: Getty

Hana Kimura, a rising phenom in Japan’s World Wonder Ring Stardom (known simply as “Stardom”) died on Saturday at the age of 22. While no official cause of death has been released at this time, it has been widely reported that she took her own life.

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Kimura, even at a young age, was one of Stardom’s biggest names. She won the top title in the company — the Goddess of Stardom Championship — once, as well as the midcard title — Artist of Stardom — twice. She also claimed the company’s 5-Star Grand Prix, akin to New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Tournament. She was part of the first-ever women’s match on the Wrestle Kingdom card this past January at the Tokyo Dome. She had only been in the company a year, starting her career with Wrestle-1, another wrestling company in Japan.

Stardom is Japan’s leading women’s wrestling company, recently bought by the same company that owns NJPW. Its alumni include Io Shirai, Kairi Sane, Toni Storm, and it is where Riho, AEW’s first women’s champion, currently performs. It has been reported that it was Kairi Sane who called for Kimura to be checked on the night she died.

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The story of Kimura’s death is incredibly sad, infuriating, and sickening. She had taken a role in Terrace House, Japan’s version of The Real World or Big Brother, where six people from different walks of life live in house and their everyday lives are documented. Kimura was the victim of a vicious cyberbullying campaign following an argument with another roommate after the roomate had washed and ruined her wrestling gear.

Kimura posted several frightening and worrying images and messages on her last day, including images of her doing harm to herself and a desire “to not be human anymore.”

She also said goodbye to her fans.

Her passing has caused an outpouring of sympathy and sadness within the industry.

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If you or someone you know struggles with thoughts of suicide, help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. More resources can be found through the International Association for Suicide Prevention here.

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