TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese reality TV show “Terrace House” has suspended its production for the 2019-2020 season after the sudden death of a 22-year-old cast member, it said on its website.
FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office building in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
Hana Kimura, a professional wrestler and star of the latest season of the popular Netflix reality TV show, died on Saturday, according to World Wonder Ring Stardom, the professional wrestling organisation that represented Kimura.
Local media reported that a suicide note was found at her Tokyo home, as she struggled with a wave of online harassment.
Her apparent suicide has shocked fans around the world and raised immediate soul-searching over cyber-bullying.
“We have decided to suspend the production of Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020. We take this issue very seriously and would like to continue to respond earnestly,” the show said on its Twitter account here
Shortly before her death was reported, Kimura posted a photo of herself with her cat on Instagram, with the caption, “I love you. Live a happy, long life. I’m sorry.”
The latest series is shot in a luxury house in Tokyo, and Kimura’s social media accounts had been bombarded with comments portraying her as a villain.
Japanese government officials promised to step up anti-cyber-bullying measures in response.
The unscripted reality show featuring three men and three women living under the same roof has gained an international following since being streamed on Netflix from 2015.
The series originated on Japan’s Fuji TV in 2012 and is now co-produced by Fuji and Netflix.
The show was once suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in April, then resumed airing this month.
After Kimura’s death, the season’s upcoming episodes, which were set to air this week and next, were again put on hold.
Reporting by Ju-min Park. Editing by Gerry Doyle