A Japanese court on Wednesday ordered a man to pay about ¥1.29 million for causing emotional distress to the family of the late Hana Kimura, a cast member of the now-canceled reality TV show "Terrace House," after posting hateful messages about her online after her death.
The suit seeking around ¥2.94 million in damages was filed with the Tokyo District Court in January by Kyoko Kimura after her 22-year-old daughter, a professional wrestler, killed herself in May last year following a barrage of hateful messages on social media triggered by her appearance on the popular Netflix reality show.
The man from Nagano Prefecture had posted malicious comments 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," according to the lawsuit.
It was the first damages claim made for defamatory comments targeting Kimura, according to her mother's lawyers. Kimura was found dead at her apartment in Tokyo.
Her death highlighted the problem of cyberbullying in the country, prompting calls for more action to stop and track down anonymous posters of defamatory messages.
Kimura's mother is continuing her efforts to identify those who posted hateful comments about her daughter, who appeared in the 2019-2020 season of "Terrace House Tokyo," to seek their accountability. Kimura was one of the series' cast members.
So far, a man from Fukui Prefecture and another man from Osaka Prefecture have been indicted and fined for posting insulting comments about Kimura on Twitter.
The cyberbullying of Kimura followed a scene in an episode from the series aired in March 2020 in which she lost her temper at a male cast member who accidentally shrank one of her wrestling costumes while doing the laundry.
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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