Hello everyone, this is the Canary aka the Shida Army General, with a tribute to one of Joshi Puroresu’s bright and shining jewels, the late Hana Kimura. I was going to write this earlier but this day does have pain for me and even still, trying to find the words without tearing up, is very hard. 2 years ago, on this day, Hana Kimura took her life due to the constant bullying she suffered online because of her appearance on Netflix’s “Terrace House Tokyo” and what she did to a cast member. However, if you knew the kind of person she was, and are able to tell the difference between acting and real life, this is far from who she was. Yes she got angry and slapped him but that’s entertainment, plus if you follow her career, she was playing a heel at that time and so she was staying in character. Due to this one little act, she was criticized and suffered severe name calling and racial abuse. The racial abuse stems from when she was a child, she was bullied for it due to having a mixed heritage. So for her to go through all this, sent her into a severe depression and so on May 23, 2020, at 22 years old, Hana Kimura took her life. The Joshi world, and more importantly, the wrestling world mourned the loss of such a bright and beautiful soul, which to this day, stings to all those who were her fans, and definitely this Joshi fan is truly crying….
Let’s take a look at her career. A career filled with promise and a bright future. Destined for greatness and ready to conquer the world with her skill, beauty and character. Poised to be a champion, Hana Kimura gained her first title at the age of 8 by winning the DDT Ironman Heavyweight title and then lost it to her mother Kyoko Kimura. After her first taste of gold, Hana started training at Wrestle-1’s academy and would make her debut in 2016 against Reika Saiki, who was a classmate of hers. During her first year, she would wrestle her mother and one month later she would capture the JWP Junior championship in a tournament final against Yako Fujigasaki which she would the title back to Yako 3 months later. The following year, her mother would retire and Hana would face her mother at her retirement show and win. During this time, she would split her time between Sendai Girls, Stardom and Wrestle-1. She would also do an international tour which would take her to Mexico and also see her compete in Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling: Eve. Let’s go into her Stardom career shall we?
While wrestling in Wrestle-1, she would also make appearances in Stardom starting with teaming with her mother and Kagetsu where they would capture the Artists of Stardom championship which is Stardom’s Trios titles. The team would vacate the titles after Hana got injured and later she would join Stardom’s heel stable known as Oedo Tai. She would team with her fellow stablemate Kagetsu and they would capture the Goddess of Stardom’s tag titles where they would go on to be a dominant tag team defeating teams consisting of Stardom’s up and coming stars like Jungle Kyona, the “Wild Heart” HZK which is pronounced Hazuki, Io Shirai, Viper aka WWE’s, ugh, can’t believe I have to mention that name, Doudrop, Natsuko Tora, Mayu Iwatani, Tam Nakano and Momo Watanabe. You are literally looking at a who’s who of Stardom. After almost a year long reign, they would eventually lose the titles to the team of Mayu Iwatani and Saki Kashima. She would leave Oedo Tai by attacking Kagetsu and later lead the International Army which was created for gaijins, which means foreigners, but would later change it to Tokyo Cyber Squad, due to the fact that it was mostly made up of Japanese stars. Hana would change her look by incorporating elements of cyber and goth. This version would be a truer version to herself and would preach indiviuality and differences, where everyone is accepted. Of course before we get to that, she would make an appearance at ROH and NJPW’s G1 Supercard event in Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2019. She would team with Stella Grey and Sumie Sakai in a losing effort against Jenny Rose and Oedo Tai members, Kagetsu and HZK. With her appearance at Madison Square Garden behind her, she would then focus on conquering Stardom with her new faction consisting of Rina, Ruaka, gaijins Bobbi Tyler and Zoe Lucas, Death Yama aka Fukigen Death aka Kaori Yoneyama, Jungle Kyona and WWE’s Asuka aka Kana’s protege, Konami. These 8 would be the key members of this faction. While leading TCS, her, Jungle and Konami would go on to capture the Artist’s of Stardom titles by defeating the Stars faction consisting of Mayu, Tam and Saki. In her last year of life, she would team up with recent Stardom signee Guilia against Mayu and Arisa Hoshiki in a dark match of NJPW”s Wrestle Kingdom 14 in what would be the first women’s match held in the Tokyo Dome since 2002. Her final match would happen on March 24th, 2020 against Mayu Iwatani at Stardom’s Cinderella 5 Star GP in a first round draw. Hana in her Stardom career would win the Artist of Stardom titles twice, Goddess of Stardom once and Stardom’s 2019 Cinderella tournament.
After reminiscing about her career, especially in some key moments, now comes the hard part for me. To this day, her loss still hurts me so much. As I type this and look up on my wall, the issue of Japanese Pro Wrestling Weekly with Hana Kimura on the cover, I can’t help but cry. The world lost such a beautiful flower and a radiant personality. She never got a chance to live and due to some spineless cowards, who would bully her online, she would leave this world. There is so many things, so many what ifs if she was still around. So many questions unanswered because we would never get a chance to see, just how far, this talented joshi would go in her career. I know for a fact, she was going to be a champion, she was definitely a pillar for Stardom, but who knows what else would happen. Would she have gone to WWE where in my eyes, she would truly “Flourish”, because she is everything they look for: beauty, young, ability to talk and more importantly, marketable due to her life, where she can relate to a lot of others. She would easily be the face of WWE’s Be A Star campaign due to her being bullied. If not WWE, maybe AEW, where she would’ve really help build their division alongside Hikaru Shida and take control. Maybe another trip to Mexico where she would win the Reina De Reinas title. There are so many what ifs, but sadly we will never get a chance to see those come to fruition. Everyone that knows me, knows how much Hikaru Shida is my hero and how I wish I was like her, but Hana is something more. I can relate in so many ways because when I moved to a new town in 8th grade, I was bullied for my race. I got called so many different names and even walking down the street, I would get stuff thrown at me, so I know what it’s like to be bullied. It hurts and that’s why her loss hurts me the most. I haven’t felt this much pain since Eddie Guerrero died, which is another death that still stings. I know though, she would not want me or any of us to cry for her, but celebrate her life like we did earlier today with the 2nd annual Hana Memorial show. Even right now, just thinking about the event, I’m crying again because at the end, they showed a tribute video with so many wrestlers across the world, telling us how much Hana meant. The song didn’t make it any easier. The whole event was beautiful. Everyone coming together to honor and remember the “Dangerous Flower”. The main event was her former “Flourish” tag partner Veny taking on Syuri in a hell of a match that can definitely be a MOTY candidate. The event also saw her mother Kyoko taking on another former partner, Jungle Kyona where after the match, we would see the return of the Oedo Tai dance. It’s so amazing to see how much, within a short time span, the impact she had on everyone who loves wrestling. Her mother Kyoko, created a non-profit organization in her name to combat bullying called “Remember Hana”. I will attach the link to the page so you can see what it’s all about. Hana may be gone but she will never be forgotten. Let me leave you with these words from her, “Everybody’s different, everybody’s special.” – Hana Kimura.
I love love love you all so much, stay awesome, stay sweet and more importantly, #EndTheHate because it’s one love. #RememberHana. Canary out!
P.S. If you or someone else is getting bullied, please reach out to someone and know, you are not in this alone. Please take care and do not let the bullies win. You can flourish forever if you just reach out to someone.