Flowers For Hana (1997-2020)
Flowers For Hana
I was trying to finish an article on the passing of former WWE star Shad Gaspard on Saturday, when I got news of a more distressing and sad event shaking the wrestling world. Just to address that, Shad was a great talent and by all reports a good man who was following his dreams in Hollywood, he and his son got caught in a riptide in Venice Beach. While his son was able to be rescued, Shad disappeared below the surface and wasn’t found for three days. While 39 is no age to die at, he died a hero making sure the rescuers saved his son first. I hope I can have at least half his selflessness when the chips are down.
I had been hearing the name Hana Kimura as a rising star in the business the last couple years. She was the daughter of legend Kyoko Kimura, raised in the business with an understanding of her character and in ring ability far above where she should be at her age. I kept hearing that once she had a few more years under her belt she could have been the next big thing in Joshi. After watching a few of her matches, she not only had the talent to be the next big Joshi (she was already a big draw for NJPW’s all female sister promotion Stardom), but if she had come to the U.S., as many people who knew her said she wanted to, she could have been a world wide sensation. Notice I’m referring to her in the past tense. Sadly, because the internet is a trash place, Hana Kimura took her own life due to cyber bullying.
Apparently while starring in a Netflix reality show, Terrace House, there was an incident where another housemate had ruined her custom ring gear from Wrestle Kingdom 14, the first women’s match to take place in the Tokyo Dome in 18 years (at Japan’s equivalent to WrestleMania). She became upset and knocked the housemate’s hat off his head. The show edited the footage too make her seem like the bad guy, and she was bombarded by hateful tweets and abuse from all over. Part of the hate was racism aimed at her half Indonesian heritage, which I don’t have the context to understand, but racism in all forms is unacceptable. It got so bad that on May, 23 she posted images on social media of self harm. Fellow wrestlers in America had recognized the danger and tried to get in touch with people who could help. Unfortunately, she could not be reached in time.
I could go on a rant about cyber bullying, and about how adults should know better than to send the things they sent to this poor young woman, only 22 years old. The truly sad thing is, if you spew some of the things that were hurled at Hana and you’re an adult, then it’s too late for you. If you justify this by saying that if she couldn’t take the heat she shouldn’t be on the internet, it’s too late for you.
From all the tributes I’ve been reading from those who knew and worked with her I’ve learned so much the world is going to miss out on:
That she was an incredible beauty.
That she went out of her way to hang out with and befriend the Gaijin so that she could perfect her English.
That above all she was kind, caring, and loyal.
That she worked hard progress in her field.
I looked up some of her matches after the news broke, and everything I heard was true. With a few more years under her belt, if she chose to come to America, she could have been a superstar. Legend and WWE Hall Of Fame inductee Jushin Liger I think said it best when he said “I’m full of such sadness that words fail me, it’s absolutely tragic and devastating.” Since Hana means flower in Japanese, many have been posting pictures of flowers in tribute, in America it was called #FlowersForHana. We here at OG send our hearts to Kyoko Kimura and Hana’s friends and co-workers.
If I can ask just one thing of whoever reads this, please consider the power of your words, and in the words of The Doctor, above all, be kind.
Here is Hana wrestling for Women Of Honor at Madison Square Garden