HANA KIMURA: A TESTAMENT TO WOMEN'S WRESTLING

TEXT BY: KRISTEN ASHLY

On May 23, 2020, Japanese professional wrestler Hana Kimura was found dead by suicide in her Tokyo apartment, after being harassed by viewers of Terrace House (a reality show in which she starred) via social media.

Fuji TV canceled the rest of Terrace House’s current season as the wrestling industry rallied around Kimura and her memory. AEW paid tribute to her during Double or Nothing. And, on the September 3 episode of Dynamite—what would have been her 23rd birthday—Kenny Omega wore a Kimura t-shirt. 

Io Shirai and Mauro Ranallo both paid respects to Kimura on the May 27 episode of NXT. On Smackdown two nights later, Sasha Banks wore a black armband with “HANA” written on it. Dakota Kai dyed her hair pink as an homage to Kimura for NXT TakeOver: In Your House.

World Wonder Ring Stardom, during its first event since the start of the pandemic, held a moment of silence, followed by 10 bell rings, in honor of the late wrestler.

Kimura was well-loved and respected in the wrestling community because of the kindness she showed everyone she met. Session Moth Martina worked with the young wrestler in Stardom from 2019 until the beginning of 2020, and shared with PWI how kind Kimura was to her from the start.

“Hana was a natural superstar, set to take over the world,” Martina said. “She lit up every room she entered and had a smile on her face every time you spoke to her. She was the first person to welcome me to Japan. And it will never ever be the same without her, but we will never, ever lose her presence there.”

At 22 years old, Kimura had already built a legacy through pure talent and strength of character. Her mother is Kyoko Kimura, a former wrestler, and Hana wasted zero time in following in her footsteps—debuting as a professional wrestler when she was still a teen. In only four years, she built an impressive resume while leaving an indelible impression on audiences across the globe.

Hana Kimura was a two-time Artist of Stardom champion and held the Goddesses of Stardom championship with Kagetsu for nearly an entire year, while also wowing fans of promotions like DDT and Ring of Honor. In 2019, she won the Stardom 5STAR Grand Prix, the Stardom Fighting Spirit Award, and ranked #61 on the PWI “Women’s 100.”

Through 315 matches in only 48 months, Kimura plied her trade for Stardom, Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling: EVE, Ring of Honor, and KAOZ Lucha Libre. In a monumental moment for women’s wrestling, she competed in a dark match with Giulia against Arisa Hoshiki and Mayu Iwatani at New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 14 at the Tokyo Dome.

Prior to her tragic passing,, Kimura’s success seemed both unstoppable and inevitable. It was apparent from not only her wrestling abilities, but her undeniable charisma and personality, that she had all the makings of an international superstar. Though her life cut was short by tragedy, her legacy will shine far. And her brief career will stand as testament to what women’s wrestling can be.

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