The mother of Hana Kimura, a former cast member of the popular reality show "Terrace House," said Tuesday she has filed a lawsuit against the program's Japanese broadcaster and two other companies, claiming her daughter committed suicide because of the show.
In the suit filed at the Tokyo District Court, Kyoko Kimura is seeking around 142 million yen ($1 million) in compensation from the three companies including Fuji Television Network Inc., alleging they produced the TV show in such a way that viewers would dislike her daughter.
Hana Kimura, 22, was among the six cast members of the 2019-2020 season of "Terrace House Tokyo." The professional wrestler was found dead at her apartment in Tokyo in May 2020 after becoming the target of hateful messages on social media. The show has since been canceled.
According to the complaint, Hana Kimura engaged in self-harm after a scene of her losing her temper streamed on Netflix in March 2020 prior to being broadcast on television, triggering abuse on social media.
The defendants continued to stream the scene and broadcast the TV series, leading to her suicide, it said.
Kyoko Kimura claims the companies intentionally staged and edited scenes to portray her daughter in a demeaning manner.
The defendants "have not responded sincerely, and I cannot expect them to change," she told a press conference, adding she hopes the lawsuit will help to eliminate online abuse.
In a separate trial, the court in May last year ordered a man to pay her about 1.29 million yen in damages for posting hateful messages about her daughter following the suicide.
Kyoko Kimura also filed a complaint with the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization in July 2020, claiming the reality show violated her daughter's personal and human rights.
In March last year, the organization concluded that the show was ethically problematic.
Emergency service in Japan: 119
If you are having suicidal thoughts, help is available.
For Japan, call Yorisoi Hotline at 0120279338 (toll-free). Press 2 after the recorded message for consultation in English, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese, Nepali, or Indonesian. The service in these languages is also available on Facebook messenger.
For those outside Japan, you can find a list of other resources here.