• Kyodo


Maria Hamasaki, a 23-year-old contestant on reality show “The Bachelor Japan,” died in a suspected suicide earlier this week, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

Her death on Wednesday was announced by video streaming website AbemaTV Inc., which produces the reality program “Ikinari Marriage” (“Sudden Marriage”), featuring Hamasaki among the cast. The company said it will suspend production and distribution of the show in light of her death.

Police do not suspect foul play, according to the sources.

“We, the staff, offer our sincere condolences,” the streaming service said in a statement.

“Ikinari Marriage” follows a man and a woman who have been paired up and have to live 30 days together as a couple following a wedding. Season 4 of the program, which features Hamasaki, had been available for streaming since Aug. 1.

She had also been a contestant on Season 3 of “The Bachelor Japan” — a Japanese adaptation of the popular American dating reality series “The Bachelor,” which features a group of women who compete for a bachelor. The program is available on the streaming service Amazon Prime Video, run by Amazon.com Inc.

According to her website, Hamasaki ran a delivery service for South Korean cosmetics and also worked as a model.

Her death follows that of Hana Kimura, a 22-year-old female professional wrestler and cast member of the popular Japanese reality series “Terrace House,” who took her life after receiving a barrage of hateful messages on social media.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 119 in Japan for immediate assistance. The TELL Lifeline is available for those who need free and anonymous counseling at 03-5774-0992. You can also visit them at telljp.com. For those in other countries, visit www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html for a detailed list of resources and assistance.

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