The tragic story of Hana Kimura, a professional wrestler who took her life in 2020 following relentless online harassment, resurfaced amid the release of episode 6 of the popular anime series ‘Oshi no Ko’.
The controversy began as the episode 6 story revolves around the depiction of a storyline strikingly similar to Hana Kimura’s story. Kimura’s mother criticized the Oshi no Ko series, leading to alleged harassment of Kimura’s family by a subset of the show’s fans.
Hana Kimura’s tragic end came after her stint on the reality TV show ‘Terrace House’ where she faced cyberbullying. This tragic incident was seemingly echoed in the sixth episode of ‘Oshi no Ko,’ titled ‘Egosurfing,’ where a character named Akane is relentlessly bullied online after an altercation with a co-worker on a reality show.
This plotline, albeit impactful in terms of highlighting the impact of online hate on artists, ignited a wave of controversy as Kimura’s family perceived it as a misuse of her story.
A few weeks ago, Kimura’s mother took to Twitter to voice her objections, claiming that ‘Oshi no Ko’ was capitalizing on her daughter’s life and tragic end. Her tweets suggested that the episode was exploiting her daughter’s story for profit, and she asked Kimura’s followers not to view the episode.
Furthermore, she criticized the show’s producer and the manga’s author, Aka Akasaka, for failing to contact her before creating and airing the contentious scene.
Kimura’s mother stated on Twitter that copy-pasting the events indicates Aka Akasaka’s lack of originality and skill in writing, adding fuel to the controversy.
Although Akasaka hasn’t commented specifically on this controversy, he had implied in an interview with Anime News Network that the Hana Kimura incident served as an inspiration for his portrayal of the challenging world of Japanese show business.
In the aftermath of this incident, the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization (BPO), which regularly publishes viewer complaints about Japanese TV content, noted a complaint from a viewer about a toxic subset of ‘Oshi no Ko’s’ fandom.
Following Kimura’s mother’s online protest against the anime, the family has reportedly been on the receiving end of excessive online harassment from these fans.
In an anime, there was an episode where a female character who appeared on a dating reality show received malicious comments and attempted sui*ide. This episode reminded people of a real-life incident, and when the family of the woman who actually took her own life expressed their discomfort online, they faced intense harassment and slander from some fans of the show.
Since the production company and broadcasting station inadvertently created a situation where an individual is being attacked, shouldn’t they make some kind of announcement or take some action?