Mother of late "Terrace House" star to sue TV broadcaster

© Kyodo News

The mother of Hana Kimura, a former cast member of the popular reality TV show "Terrace House," said Thursday she will file a lawsuit next year against the show's Japanese broadcaster and a production company seeking compensation for the suicide of her daughter.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo with her lawyer, Kyoko Kimura said she wanted Fuji Television Network Inc. and the production company to "sincerely" investigate the reason for her daughter's suicide, adding that a week or so before her death, Hana had said the producers "don't treat the cast like human beings."

Hana Kimura, 22, was among the six cast members of the 2019-2020 season of "Terrace House Tokyo." The professional wrestler was found dead at her apartment in Tokyo in May 2020 after becoming the target of a barrage of hateful messages on social media. The show has since been canceled.

As a preliminary step to the suit, her 44-year-old mother has filed a motion with the Tokyo District Court to preserve evidence including unreleased footage from the show, which was also aired on U.S. streaming service Netflix with English subtitles.

The court last Friday ordered the production company to present material such as unedited tapes and scripts. According to the lawyer, it is unusual for the court to issue such an order.

The company, which plans to contest the order, has declined from commenting while the case is pending.

Kyoko Kimura has been continuing her efforts to identify and seek damages from those who posted hateful comments about her daughter, with two men indicted and fined so far.

In May, the Tokyo District Court also awarded her about 1.29 million yen ($11,300) in damages from a man who posted hateful messages about her daughter after her death.

Kimura also filed a complaint in July 2020 to the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization claiming the reality show violated her daughter's personal and human rights.

In March, the organization concluded the show was ethically problematic.