Last month Kyoko Kimura, mother of former reality TV star Hana Kimura, was bothered by an episode of Oshi no Ko. Oshi no Ko is about the darker side of the entertainment industry, and the episode in question appears to have taken inspiration from the real story of Hana Kimura, who killed herself after being mercilessly cyberbullied.
Kyoko Kimura complained, “The words that the character was exposed to are exactly the words that Hana was exposed to… I can’t overlook the fact that Hana’s death is being used like free source material.”
Since then, Kyoko Kimura has been cyberbullied herself so badly by a segment of Oshi no Ko’s fans that Japan’s Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization published this viewer comment:
“In an anime, there was an episode in which a female character in a dating reality show receives harassment and contemplates suicide. Because the portrayal evokes a real-life incident, the relatives of the woman who suicided expressed their discomfort online, and they have been receiving excessive harassment from a subset of the show’s fans. The production company and broadcaster created the impetus behind these attacks on individuals—should there not be an announcement of some sort to address this?”
Aka Akasaka, the creator of Oshi no Ko, has not publicly responded to Kimura’s criticism or to the fact Kimura is being harassed for her criticism. For his part, though, Akasaka has made it clear his intention in showing these darker things in the entertainment industry is to raise awareness for what people are going through, not to make more bullying if there is a disagreement or issue.
“With the spread of the internet, we live in a society where fans’ voices are heard directly,” he said during an interview. “I want people to know how young talents are being hurt, exploited, and suffering.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please know that there is help available. In America, you can call 1-800-273-8255. In Canada, you can call 1-833-456-4566. In Japan, you can call 03-5774-0992. For other countries, numbers and resources are available on this site.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.