TOKYO — A woman in eastern Japan confessed that she was driven by a twisted sense of justice to create a social media account and take part in the online abuse that led to the suspected suicide of 22-year-old professional wrestler Hana Kimura.
A part-time worker in her 40s who lives in the Kanto region responded to a phone interview with the Mainichi Shimbun and spoke of her deep regret of having been involved in slander that triggered such heavy consequences, saying, “I have done a very terrible thing.”
Last year, the woman began to watch the reality show “Terrace House” in which Kimura made regular appearances. She had a good impression of Kimura as “a very nice kid who can cook and greet others properly.”
The incident that changed the woman’s image of Kimura completely was a scene during the show where she blamed a fellow male show member for accidentally running a washing machine containing a costume that she valued and used in wrestling matches. The costume could no longer be worn by Kimura, and she knocked away a hat worn by the male member out of anger.
The woman was apparently left with inexpressible anger and displeasure after watching this scene when the episode was streamed online at the end of March. The man whose hat was knocked to the ground by Kimura had treated her kindly in the past.
Even though it was Kimura herself that forgot her costume in the washing machine in the first place, she took such an unacceptable attitude toward the man, the woman recalled thinking. She said that feelings of disgust toward Kimura whirled around in her mind and these grew more and more following the incident, to the point where the woman would grimace each time Kimura appeared in later shows.
The woman continued to have such unpleasant thoughts, and her intention to reproach Kimura in online posts was triggered in May when unreleased clips relating to the costume incident were streamed. The woman was revisited with anger when watching the clips as she sensed that Kimura had not reflected on her own actions. She thought, “Why does she take such an attitude? Is it fine for things to be left as they are?” The woman saw countless posts criticizing Kimura on Twitter and Instagram, and felt that there were numerous others who held the same anger and questions as her. This led to her to decision to make a post herself, thinking, “I also need to directly convey something to Kimura.”
The woman had never used social media before, but created an anonymous Twitter account for the first time two to three days after she viewed the clips in mid-May. She consequently posted slander in the form of a reply to a tweet by Kimura, and felt that her anger had calmed down a bit. Feeling happy when she received “likes” from other abuser accounts, the woman also liked posts by such accounts as well.
(Japanese original by Hiromi Makino, Integrated Digital News Center)