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    Sunday, May 24, 2020

    Hana Kimura (1997-2020)

    Since childhood, Hana Kimura had been in love with the wrestling business. As the daughter of legendary joshi Kyoko Kimura, she would attend numerous wrestling shows with her mother growing up. In 2005, at the tender age of eight, she even won the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship, which she lost to her mom immediately right afterward.

    In her teenage years, Hana joined Keji Mutoh's Wrestle-1 to further her training as a wrestler. Before joining World Wonder Ring Stardom full-time in 2019, she was a full-time member of Wrestle-1, while also performing for Sendai Girls Pro Wrestling and Stardom.

    During the first few years of her run in Stardom, she was part of the stable Oedo Tai, learning from another legendary joshi in Kagetsu, even winning the Goddess of Stardom Championship with her. Hana was able to showcase her charisma and skill as part of Kagetsu's stable until she was ready to leave the coop.

    As part of the 2019 Stardom Draft, Hana formed Tokyo Cyber Squad, her own team whose motto is "Everyone's different. Everyone's special." Hana and her teammates were all unique characters for sure, and as the leader of TCS she racked up accolades—one of which was winning Stardom's 5 Star Grand Prix, which is their equivalent of NJPW's G1 Climax.

    In late 2019, she was involved in a major feud with fellow half-Japanese wrestler, Giulia. The feud lasted all the way to NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom 14 Pre-Show on January 4, with her being one of the first ever female wrestlers to compete at NJPW's flagship event. Within the span of eight months, Hana performed in Madison Square Garden and the Tokyo Dome, an achievement that very few people can say they have accomplished.

    Under Bushiroad's ownership of Stardom, Hana was being groomed to become one of the company's top stars. It's safe to say that she was just beginning to establish her name in the wrestling industry and beyond. She even joined the cast of the popular reality show Terrace House last year to find love and to make puroresu more popular—she was able to spread the message of puroresu to a whole new audience that may not visit a wrestling show on a normal day. I'm sad that she never found love.

    It's such a shame that she is no longer with us. Her energy and joy for life was infectious, as evidenced by the numerous social media posts that appeared after her passing.

    I would rather not speculate on the reasons of her passing. All I will say is that we need to be kinder to each other online. It doesn't matter if you're talking to a public personality or your average everyday social media user—we need to become more understanding of each other. Behind every social media account is a person who you may not know is going through a very difficult time.

    Rest in peace, Flower.

    Photo from Stardom
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    Item Reviewed: Hana Kimura (1997-2020) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Steven Maxwell Tan
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