Japanese professional wrestler and reality TV star Hana Kimura last year Terraced house: Tokyo, allegedly committed suicide following relentless cyberbullying. Now a Japanese court has charged an anonymous Osaka man with $ 81 for his abusive messages about Kimura, the Washington Post reports. It’s rare to see the courts rule on cyberbullying in general, but this particular ruling struck some Kimura fans as particularly lenient. Online trolls are a dime a dozen, but in this case the messages to Kimura included asking her, “When will you die?”
What should be the real cost of cyberbullying, especially when it leads to potential suicide? In December, Nikkei Asia reported that the Osaka man, who admitted to being charged with public insult, could be jailed for up to 29 days, or up to 10,000 yen (about $ 90). The final decision is on the high end of the potential fine, but does not include any jail time. Nikkei notes that the troll told police he wanted to “get back” to Kimura, following an incident with a male cast member on Terrace House (which also led to a slew of hate messages from other viewers). He also wrote a letter of apology to Kimura’s family, investigators said.
Kyoko Kimura, the star’s mother and a professional wrestler herself, also took on the producers of Terrace House to the task to stir up the conflict between its competitors. She filed a complaint for human rights violations, Washington Post reports, but this was canceled by the Japan Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization. He admitted that Terraced house The parent network, Fuji TV, has had “broadcast ethics issues” and has not paid enough attention to the welfare of the cast members. But despite this finding, the agency also did not consider it a human rights violation.
Kimura’s tragic story is a combination of the world of reality TV, where producers often push participants into dramatic clashes, and the dramatic rise in cyberbullying over the past decade. British reality TV series Love island is directly linked to several caste suicides, including former beauty queen Sophie Gradon and footballer Mike Thalassitis. Competitors from other shows, including Hell’s Kitchen and American Idol, also struggled with their rapid rise to fame. And while cyberbullying is gaining increased attention in schools, we still seek to prevent trolling online before it has dramatic consequences. According to Pew Research Foundation59 percent of American teens said they’ve been bullied or harassed online, and 90 percent think it’s a real issue affecting their age group.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or via an online chat.