Content Warning: Suicide
The manga and anime adaptation of Oshi no Ko is supposed to be about the more unpleasant parts of being in the entertainment business, and for Kyoko Kimura, mother of former reality TV star Hana Kimura, the sixth episode hit close to home.
Hana Kimura, who was on the reality show Terrace House, killed herself after being cyberbullied mercilessly over an event in the series. The new episode of Oshi no Ko has a character on a reality show attempt suicide because of online bullying.
“The words that the character was exposed to are exactly the words that Hana was exposed to,” Kyoko Kimura said. “We have talked about these things publicly through interviews and the like. How could those exact same words be used? I can’t overlook the fact that Hana’s death is being used like free source material.”
She also said, “I don’t mean to blame the author or any specific individual. I just wonder if there was no one who gave it the proper consideration before releasing it out into the world. That’s what makes me sad. Because it raises important issues, I would like to support a work like Oshi no Ko. However, I don’t think it needs to be done in a way that makes people who have actually been victimized on social media suffer when they see it.”
Aka Akasaka, the author of the series, has said that Oshi no Ko is meant to show how the entertainment industry can hurt individuals and help people realize what’s going on for them. “With the spread of the internet, we live in a society where fans’ voices are heard directly,” he said. “I want people to know how young talents are being hurt, exploited, and suffering.”
Akasaka further explained, “Talents can no longer ignore the internet, YouTube has become super popular, movies are watched with subtitles, plays are increasingly based on anime and manga, and there has been an instance of a suicide stemming from a reality show. Considering all those facts, I then decided to take a contemporary subject, something that is happening in the real world of Japanese entertainment today. That was the first concept.”
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.