Japanese professional wrestler Hana Kimura died on May 23 at the age of 22. Kimura wrestled for the promotion Stardom, who confirmed her death on their website and social media. The Tokyo-based company, also known by its full name World Wonder Ring Stardom, issued a statement on its English-language Twitter account:
The promotion also posted on its website:
Our company player Hana Kimura passed away today on May 23. We apologize for the sudden concern and sorrow for our fans and all concerned. Regarding the details, there are some parts that we have not yet grasped, so we will continue to cooperate with the investigation between the parties concerned. We deeply pray for Hana Kimura’s life.
Her cause of death has not been revealed. Earlier in the day, Kimura shared self-harm photos of herself and spoke of her severe depression. Wrestling News reported that an episode of Netflix’s “Terrace House” had just aired in Japan, and it painted Kimura as a villain. The outlet indicated that Kimura was the victim of online bullying by fans of the show. This has not been independently confirmed by Heavy.
Here’s what you need to know about Hana Kimura:
1. Many Fans Were Concerned for Kimura Earlier in the Day After She Posted on Social Media
Kimura posted some photos and self-harm photos on social media earlier in the day, according to Mandatory. The outlet also reported that she posted some messages indicating that she was struggling: “Nearly 100 frank opinions every day. I couldn’t deny that I was hurt. I’m dead. Thank you for giving me a mother. It was a life I wanted to be loved. Thank you to everyone who supported me. I love it. I’m weak, I’m sorry. I don’t want to be a human anymore. It was a life I wanted to be loved. Thank you everyone, I love you. Bye.”
After she posted that tweet, many fans took to Twitter to voice their support for the wrestler. One account wrote: “[Hana Kimura] You are strong. You are loved. You are supported and admired around the world. I will always believe in Hana Kimura! #WeLoveHanaKimura.” Another added that after reading the concerning message, “I got in touch with people to get them to find out if she’s OK. What I got back was that she is OK as one can be. STARDOM and other friends are en route to her.”
Those tweets have since been removed from the account and her last tweet shows her cuddling with her cat.
2. Kimura Was a Successful Wrestler Whose Mother Was Also a Well-Known Japanese Pro Wrestler
Kimura was born on September 3, 1997, in Yokohama, Japan, and trained with Wrestle-1 at their professional wrestling university. Her mother, Kyoko Kimura, is also a professional wrestler and mixed martial artist who had a 14-year career before retiring in 2017.
Kimura made her debut on March 30, 2016, with Wrestle-1. She wrestled many times that year, including against her mother. She won her first title on September 18, 2016, the JWP Junior Championship. She eventually left Wrestle-1 to move to Stardom on March 25, 2019, where she became the leader of a faction called Tokyo Cyber Squad. She won the Artist of Stardom Championship twice and the Goddess of Stardom Championship once.
3. Kimura Appeared on a Netflix Reality Show Called ‘Terrace House: Tokyo,’ Which Is Currently Airing
In addition to her professional wrestling career, Kimura appeared on the Netflix reality show “Terrace House: Tokyo.” Netflix describes the show: “Six strangers share a fabulous house in Tokyo, looking for love while living under the same roof. With no script, what happens next is all up to them.”
She first appeared on the show for the 20th episode on October 22, 2019. She immediately made an impact on the house due to her outgoing nature.
4. Kimura Was a Dancer in High School Before Becoming a Professional Wrestler
Kimura was a dancer in high school before becoming a professional wrestler. In an interview from January 2020 posted to YouTube and available above, Kimura said she initially wanted to become a dancer. She said when it came time to earn money and “put food on the table,” dance was no longer something that she really enjoyed.
She said her mother, who was a professional wrestler, told her she should also follow that path, which was something she didn’t initially like. However, when she lost interest in dance as a career path, she decided that becoming a pro wrestler was more realistic and it allowed her to keep dance as a hobby. She said when she started, she told her mother she would try it for three years, but since getting into professional wrestling, she’s never thought about quitting and knew she would do it for much longer.
5. People Took to Social Media to Post Tributes to Kimura & Share Their Sadness at the Young Wrestler’s Death
After Stardom confirmed Kimura’s death, Twitter was flooded with tribute posts and people expressing their sadness at her passing.