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Hana Kimura Death: Mother Of Reality Star Sues Producers Of Terrace House TV Show

The mother of Hana Kimura, a former professional wrestler who killed herself after appearing in the Japanese reality TV show Terrace House, has sued the programme’s producers, claiming the show triggered the cyberbullying that led to her death.

Kimura, 22, killed herself in May 2020 after being subjected to abuse and harassment on social media following her appearances on the popular show, which featured a disparate group of strangers living together.

Kyoko Kimura is seeking around ¥142m yen ($1m) in compensation from three companies, including Fuji Television. In her suit, filed with the Tokyo district court, Kimura claims the defendants produced the show in a way that encouraged viewers to turn against her daughter.

The reality TV star began self-harming after a scene in which she had an altercation with a male cast member was streamed on Netflix in March 2020 before being broadcast on television, according to Japanese media accounts of the lawsuit.

The scene triggered the online abuse that caused Hana to kill herself, the suit alleges. Her mother claimed that Fuji TV and the two production companies intentionally staged and edited scenes to portray her daughter in a negative light.

“I wanted to avoid a court case, but I was forced to file the lawsuit because [the defendants] have not responded with sincerity,” Kimura said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I don’t want any more young people to have their dreams exploited.”

Kimura’s death highlighted the growing problem of cyberbullying in Japan, prompting calls for the government to take more action against anonymous social media users who post abusive content.

In June, the parliament passed an amendment to the penal code making online insults punishable by up to a year in prison or a maximum fine of ¥300,000.

The lawsuit said the producers had a responsibility to address negative reactions to the programme by monitoring Hana’s physical and psychological health during the entire process of shooting, editing and streaming the programme, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Kyoko Kimura accused the producers of treating cast members as “dispensable”.

She told reporters that if she had been in their position, “I would not have been able to do the same thing if a family member or someone I loved appeared on the programme. I wanted the producers to treat the cast members as human beings.”

The defendants did not comment on the case, saying they had yet to receive details of the suit. The programme was cancelled after Kimura’s death.

In a separate case in May 2021, a court ordered a man to pay Kyoko Kimura ¥1.29m in damages for posting hateful messages about Hana after her death.

Her mother also filed a complaint with a broadcasting watchdog in 2020, claiming the show had violated her daughter’s human rights. The body concluded in 2021 that the programme had “ethical problems” but had not violated her human rights, Japanese media reported.

International helplines can be found at In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email [email protected] or [email protected]. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 or chat for support. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counselor. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14.

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