Hana Kimura Passing Sparks Laws Discussion About Cyberbullying

The wrestling world is still in recovery following the death of Hana Kimura. The Stardom wrestler took her own life on May 23rd.  A torrent of online abuse following her appearance on reality series Terrace House lead to her suicide. Kimura’s death has opened a discussion on cyberbullying in her native Japan. In the days since the 22-year-old wrestler’s demise, other Terrace House residents have come forward with accounts of online harassment. The passing of Hana Kimura sparks discussion regarding cyberbullying.

“I was told if I become famous or join ‘Terrace House,’ receiving slander was unavoidable and it’s the tax of being a celebrity,” Ryo Tawatari said in an Instagram post. “But is it really right? Honestly speaking, I receive lots of slander every day. Other members are in agony too.”

Tawatari’s former Terrace House castmate Emika Mizukoshi echoed his sentiments on her Instagram. “I was also slandered after joining Terrace House, and was hurt,” said Mizukoshi. “But we on TV are all human and have feelings. Words can be deadly weapons. We have to end this trend where you can say anything to so-called famous people.”

Japanese government leaders met on May 25th to discuss the problem of cyberbullying. Both the ruling and opposition parties agree something must be done.  “Some kind of rules are necessary against heartless name-calling and abusive actions that hurt people,” said opposition leader Jun Azumi. “It’s regrettable,” said house affairs chief Hiroshi Moriyama.  “What we do as the legislative body of the government [in this issue] is important.”

Hana Kimura Passing Sparks Laws Discussion About Cyberbullying

On May 26th, Sanae Takaichi, Minister of Internal Affairs and Communication, pledged to speed up legislation regarding cyberbullying. “The ministry set up an expert panel last month and has begun mulling over measures to facilitate information disclosure.” she said at a news conference. “We’re planning to study a policy that would simplify ways to identify the user when an anonymous person makes a post that infringes on another person’s rights.”  Takaichi added that the government intends to revise existing laws, aiming to compile draft legislation by the end of the year.

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