The cancellation of the 2019-20 season was announced Wednesday evening local time by the show’s Japanese broadcaster Fuji Television Network. There was no word on future iterations.
A message on the network’s website confirmed the current season cancellation: “We would like to express our regrets for the death of Hana Kimura and offer our sincere condolences to her family. Taking her passing with utmost sincerity, we will take active steps to formulate a response.”
The show is carried by global streaming service Netflix, outside Japan. “We have no current plans to take down the latest season of this incredibly loved show,” a Netflix spokesman told Variety.
The 22-year-old Kimura was repeated the target of cyberbullying, triggered by an altercation with a male cast member on the show. She was also vilified for her appearance and comportment.
It has been widely reported in mainstream Japanese media that her death was by suicide, though that has not yet been confirmed by Japanese authorities. Before her death, Kimura posted a photo of herself on Instagram together with an apology.
Kimura’s death has not only led to soul-searching in the Japanese entertainment business, where such bullying Kimura experienced is widespread online and off, but also in the Japanese parliament.
On Monday both ruling and opposition parties joined forces to begin the drafting and implementation of new rules governing online abuse. Also, on Tuesday Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi told the media that the ministry was investigating ways of disclosing information on up-till-now anonymous cyberbullies.