Deceased Pro Wrestler Hana Kimura's Mother Criticizes Oshi no Ko Episode 6
posted on by Richard Eisenbeis
Warning: This article describes suicide and cyberbullying. If you or anyone you know is suicidal or having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a suicide prevention organization in your country. In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255. In Japan, the TELL LifeLine service is available at 03-5774-0992, and an English counseling service is available at 03-4550-1146. In Canada, Crisis Services Canada is available at 1-833-456-4566.On May 23, 2020, professional wrestler Hana Kimura died by suicide at the age of 22. She was relentlessly cyberbullied for knocking the hat off of a fellow cast member after he ruined her wrestling uniform on the Japanese reality TV show Terrace House. The sixth episode of the currently airing Oshi no Ko anime focuses on an incident where one character on a reality TV show slaps another one and is subsequently driven to attempt suicide after being bullied on social media. The similarities did not escape Kyoko Kimura, mother of Hana Kimura.
In an interview with the Shūkan Josei Prime magazine, Kimura showed her outrage at the anime for capitalizing on the specifics of her daughter's death. “The words that the character was exposed to are exactly the words that Hana was exposed to. We have talked about these things publicly through interviews and the like. How could those exact same words be used? I can't overlook the fact that Hana's death is being used like free source material.”
She also mentioned that a friend of hers watched the episode without knowing its subject matter beforehand, triggering traumatic memories for them.
Oshi no Ko, for its part, is centered around the dark realities of the Japanese entertainment industry and contains many tales inspired by real-life people and events. In fact, it is specifically designed to bring these issues into the spotlight. In Anime News Network's recent interview with Oshi no Ko author Aka Akasaka, he stated, “With the spread of the internet, we live in a society where fans' voices are heard directly. I want people to know how young talents are being hurt, exploited, and suffering.” But does educating some justify harming those directly affected by those real-life events?
Akasaka also stated in the interview, "Talents [entertainers who frequently appear on TV in Japan] can no longer ignore the internet, YouTube has become super popular, movies are watched with subtitles, plays are increasingly based on anime and manga, and there has been an instance of a suicide stemming from a reality show. Considering all those facts, I then decided to take a contemporary subject, something that is happening in the real world of Japanese entertainment today. That was the first concept."
In the Shūkan Josei Prime interview, Kimura states her wish to find a sort of middle ground where the truth is shared, but the victims are likewise respected. “I don't mean to blame the author or any specific individual. I just wonder if there was no one who gave it the proper consideration before releasing it out into the world. That's what makes me sad. Because it raises important issues, I would like to support a work like Oshi no Ko. However, I don't think it needs to be done in a way that makes people who have actually been victimized on social media suffer when they see it.”
Source: Shūkan Josei Prime via Yahoo! News Japan, Unseen Japan
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history