• Kyodo

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The mother of Hana Kimura, a cast member from popular reality TV show “Terrace House” who apparently took her own life after being subjected to hateful messages online, has sued a man for posting distressing comments about her after her daughter’s death, the mother’s lawyers said Wednesday.

Kyoko Kimura filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court on Jan. 22 seeking damages of around ¥2.94 million against the man for causing emotional distress to her family. It is the first damages claim made for hateful comments about Kimura, a professional wrestler who was 22 when she died, according to the lawyers.

The man posted hateful messages about Kimura’s death, such as “Everyone is happier that you died, thank you,” and “Who do you think you are, causing trouble until the end? Go to hell,” in May last year, according to the lawsuit.

Kimura’s case raised the alarm about cyberbullying and prompted calls for more action to stop and track down anonymous posters of hateful messages.

The man, from Nagano Prefecture, was identified after legislation approved last month made it easier to track down anonymous posters and simplified court procedures to help victims of cyberbullying seek information on their harassers.

The mother is currently working to reveal the identities of cyberbullies in connection with her daughter’s death to press for their accountability.

Kimura, who was among the six cast members of the 2019-2020 season of “Terrace House Tokyo,” was found dead at her apartment in Tokyo after becoming the target of a barrage of hateful messages on social media. The show has since been canceled.

Police have said Kimura received around 300 such messages from approximately 200 accounts, and they believe the messages were what prompted her to take her own life.

In December last year, another man, in his 20s from Osaka Prefecture, was referred to prosecutors for allegedly posting hateful messages on social media about Kimura.

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 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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