Hana Kimura’s mother claims Terrace House producers forced her to be violent onscreen

TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 17: Hana Kimura looks on during the press conference Bushiroad and Stardom on October 17, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

Earlier in May, Terrace House star and Japanese wrestler Hana Kimura was reported to have died by suicide at a young age of 22. While investigations largely pointed to cyberbullying as the reason, Kimura’s mother recently shed light on what happened prior to the cyberbullying — Kimura’s “obnoxious behaviour” in Terrace House.

“The Costume Incident” in the reality dating show depicted Kimura shouting at fellow housemate Kai Kobayashi, and hitting his cap off his head for accidentally shrinking her wrestling costume in the washing machine. However, according to Kimura’s mother, Kyoko Kimura, in an interview with Japanese magazine Shuukan Bunshun, this incident was actually staged by Terrace House staff.

“On 15 May, Hana and I celebrated the birthday of her grandmother. While driving Hana home, she broke down in tears,” said Kyoko. When she first came to Terrace House, Kimura wanted to present herself well as a professional wrestler. But she was told to play up her “heel” image (the villain in professional wrestling) from 1 to 100, said Kyoko.

The staff of Terrace House also allegedly fanned the flames of the incident, saying, “Why not, this kind of guy. Why not slap his face.” Kimura could not bring herself to do it as a professional wrestler, but eventually compromised with difficulty by slapping his cap off. She told her mother that she could not trust the staff.

In addition, Shuukan Bunshun reported that text messages exchanged between Kimura and her anonymous friend revealed similar grievances. She wrote that her costume was ruined and the staff wanted her to lose her cool in front of the camera. Even when asked to slap her co-star, Kimura said she could not do it. She said that they instigated the incident and that the scene was fake. Kimura felt bad and was sorry about it.

The anonymous friend also disclosed to Shuukan Bunshun that Kimura had confided in her many times regarding the pressure from Terrace House staff. Kobayashi, whose cap was slapped off in that infamous incident, also said that Kimura had spoken to him about how the staff coerced her.

Fuji TV, the producers of Terrace House, said they were still investigating the claims.

Five days before Kimura’s death, Fuji TV re-aired the episode of “The Costume Incident”. Shuukan Bunshun said that after seeing the broadcast, Kimura sent her anonymous friend a text message: “This became a hot topic. The production team must be satisfied now."

Despite all this going on, the same day the magazine containing the interview with Kimura’s mother went on sale, Terrace House cast members were pictured having a rooftop party in an Instagram post by Toshiyuki Niino.

Kyoko was not happy and vented with a tweet which has since been deleted, “This timing when Shuukan Bunshun went on sale? We haven’t even reached Hana’s 49th memorial day but people from that suspicious show are partying? I guess no matter what, it’s always other people’s problem. I don’t mean to criticise them individually but this is just sad and disappointing.”

It was later made known that Niino apologised to Kimura’s mother personally for the insensitive post. Kyoko also accepted the apology, clarifying that the partying post was to reassure everyone that they are doing well, and that the Terrace House cast members were thinking fondly of Kimura.

SINGAPORE

If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide, contact SOS on 1800 221 4444 (24hrs). If you have concerns about mental health issues, contact Emergency Helpline (IMH) on 6389 2222 (24hrs). For more information and help dealing with mental health issues, go to https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/559/findhelp_servicesformentalhealthsupport

MALAYSIA

If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide, contact Lifeline on (+603) 4265 7995 (24hrs). If you have concerns about mental health issues, contact the Malaysian Mental Health Association on (+603) 7782 5499. For more information and help dealing with mental health issues, contact the Befrienders on (+603) 79568144 or (+603) 7956 8145; or go to https://www.befrienders.org.my/

PHILIPPINES

If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide, contact Lifeline on (02) 8969191 or 0917 854 9191. If you have concerns about mental health issues, contact the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline on 0917 899 8727 (USAP) and 989 8727 (USAP). For more information and help dealing with mental health issues, go to the National Center for Mental Health at http://ncmh.gov.ph/.