Life is not a bed of roses for most of us. Many of us like to complain about the hardships of life and blame our luck, while some people gracefully fight with life’s adversity. Kyoko Kimura is one such person.
By profession, Kyoko is a professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. She is 43 years old as of 2021. Kyoko hails from Japan, the land of the rising sun.
Kyoko is most known for her powerpack wrestling performance and her Afro-styled hair. The controversial death of her daughter also gave her a lot of media attention.
Kyoko has gone far and beyond and seen ups and downs in life but religiously stuck to her dream of being a professional wrestler. She has competed in reputed promotions and won many titles in her 14-year-old career.
Women like Kyoko are proof that women are stronger than we think, both physically and emotionally. In this article, we will revisit her life and career. First, here are some interesting quick facts:
Quick Facts: Kyoko Kimura
|Full Name||Kyoko Kimura (木村 響子)|
|Birth Date||March 19, 1977|
|Birth Place||Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Siblings||One older sister|
|Age||43 years ( as of 2021)|
|Billed Height||1.64 m (5 ft 4 1⁄2 in)|
|Billed Weight||62 kgs (137 lbs)|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
|Husband||Isao Kobayashi since 2016|
|Children||Daughter, Hana Kimura|
|Profession||Professional Wrestler, Mixed Martial Artist|
|Debuted||July 20, 2003|
|Retired||January 22, 2017|
|Net Worth||$1million – $5million|
|Retired||January 22, 2017|
|Social Media||Instagram, Twitter, Blog|
|Wrestling Merch||Shoes, Headgear|
Early Life and Family
Kyoko was born in the city Yokohoma of Japan on 19 March 1977. The identity of her father and mother is not known. She has implied in interviews that her father is not around and her family is of three people. She has one elder sister who runs an okonomiyaki restaurant.
Kyoko fell in love with wrestling after watching the legendary AJPW match between Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher vs. Terry and Dory Funk.
The year was 1993, and she was only in the freshmen year of high school. Kyoko watched a documentary about the sheik and instantly decided to become a wrestler. She then went on to drop out of school and joined the FMW dojo.
While Kyoko was learning her game, he succumbed to a knee injury and had to retire early. She then thought about what her options were. She moved to Mexico and learned Lucha libre. But she gradually ran out of money and had to return to Japan.
Backpacking Through Asia
Kyoko was a free spirit, an adventure bug. She did few jobs, saved up money, and went to travel around Asia. She mostly spent her time exploring Southeast Asia while also doing part-time jobs to support herself.
During her stay in Bali, she met a man and fell in love. He was a tour guide and a very kind person. Kimura then married her unnamed lover, and together, they returned to Japan. Hana’s parents opposed the relationship because her husband was a foreigner.
They had a daughter, Hana, in 1997. The young couple worked hard day and night to give a good life to their daughter. But staying in Japan was too much of a cultural shock for Hana’s father, and he decided to return to Indonesia.
This was a difficult situation for Kyoko because for two reasons. One because of her young age and the social taboo around single mother Asian countries usually have. But despite all the odds, Kyoko singlehandedly raised Hana while pursuing her dreams.
Kimura started training all over again at JWP dojo in Tokyo while also taking care of Hana. She used to bring Hana along with her on her bicycle, and little Hana stayed there watching her train.
Similarly, Kyoko finally Graduated from JWP dojo in 2003. After graduation, it was time to start wrestling professionally finally. She joined JWP Joshi Puroresu promotion, and on July 20, 2003, she made her debut.
She had a small role in this promotion and stayed in the same role for over two years. In 2005, she finally quit that role and started working as a freelancer. She worked in Ibuki, Oz Academy, and took challenges like deathmatches.
Career: Kyoko Kimura
Kyoko’s major role in wrestling was in 2008, where she led the villainous Revolucion Amandia stable in NEO japan ladies pro wrestling promotion. She made a tour of Mexico with Revolucion Amandia in 2009 October.
Moreover, she played for NEO regularly until Dec 2010. In 2012 May, she started working for the world wonder ring stardom portion.
In the following September, Kimura also started regularly working for the ice ribbon promotion. During this time period, she won the International ribbon tag team and Reiner world tag team championships.
She made it to the first-ever 5 star GP finals in 2012 but lost it to Yuzuki Aikawa. In November 2013, she won the Artist of the stardom championship with two monster gun stablemates.
The same month, she won the goddesses of stardom tag tournament. In Jan 2014, she won another goddess of stardom championship and became the first person to win the title twice.
She made her debut for American wrestling with shimmer women’s championship in 2015.
Kimura debuted in mixed martial arts on November 11 at Pancrase Impressive tour. This fight was against Megumi Yabushita, which Kimura won by TKO.
Likewise, Kyoko’s next match was in January 2012 at Pancrase Progress Tour. She fought with Mizuho Sato, but it ended in a draw. The Japanese wrestler won a fight against South Korean MMA fighter Kim Sung Eun in April 2012.
Her next match was with Rin Nakai on Pancrase progress tour, but she lost the match. This is her first loss at MMA.
Kyoko, now a famous name in the Japanese wrestling society, married Isao Kobayashi in 2016 February. For those unknown, he is also a professional wrestler and mixed martial artist.
Also, Isao is 11 years younger than Kyoko. And as expected, few eyebrows were raised here and there when they came out as a couple.
There is no detail on where they met, but we can guess that they met at a wrestling event as they both are wrestlers!
The renowned wrestler, Kyoko, retired on January 22, 2017, with a grand retirement event in Korakuen Hall.
Along with her daughter and husband, she did matches on this event entitled ‘The last Afro.’
Similarly, Hana Isao and Kyoko were defeated by Aja kong, Meiko Satomura, and Minoru Suzuki in a six-person tag team match. Also, Kimura did a bonus fight with Hana afterward, which Hana won with a big boot.
Hana Kimura: Kyoko’s daughter
A daughter is very special to her mother. To Kyoko, Hana was no lesser. Kyoko had Hana when she was only 19, and she fought battles to give a nice upbringing to Hana.
Not to mention, they both were wrestlers and even did fights together. This was truly an ideal mother-daughter pair.
Similarly, Hana grew up watching her mother wrestle and fell in love with it. Despite her mother doing all she could, Hana’s childhood was far from easy.
In fact, young Hana was regularly bullied due to her mixed ethnicity and used to come home full of tears. Thankfully, she thrived even under such circumstances.
Besides, Hana also had a passion for modeling and dancing. She wanted to be a star! She used to express her desire to face the camera to her mother.
Nonetheless, young Kimura made her wrestling debut in 2016, and Kyoko was delighted with this decision. The duo has had several matches together.
The pair won the ‘Artist of the stardom’ title with Partner Kagetsu in October 2016. The two also had individual matches against each other. Hana lost Their first such match, but she finally achieved victory against Kyoko in 2016 in tag team action.
Terrace House and Hana’s Death
Hana decided to join ‘Terrace House,’ a Japanese reality show, in 2019. Her motivation behind this action was her obvious love for the camera and her internal wish to spread the word about female wrestlers.
Terrace house is a pretty popular show in Japan and is broadcasted by Fuji TV and Netflix Japan. This show follows six strangers living together temporarily and getting to know each other.
However, the show made Hana’s schedule hectic. She had to shoot for the show day and night in addition to her wrestling matches. By the end of 2019, she was already talking of quitting the show.
After the episodes started to release on Netflix, Hana started to receive online hate and bullying. The hate was mainly directed towards one episode where she is engaged in a fight with a cast member.
On May 23, 2020, Hana was found dead by suicide. During this time, she was isolated at her house due to covid pandemic. Earlier that day, she had made strings of tweets implying suicidal thoughts and posted self-harm photos along with some hate messages she had received.
This incident gained backlash from all over the country and also from international wrestling fans. The vile fans of ‘Terrace house’ were called out for their problematic behavior.
Kyoko then filed a complaint against cyberbullies who targeted Hana with Japan’s Human Rights Committee. She also vowed to work against cyberbullying’s hideous culture and enact laws to stop similar incidents from happening again.
Later, a formal arrest was made on a person who made death threats to Hana via messages. This person apologized to Hana’s family via email.
Kimura spoke against the show, saying the whole incident was scripted and Hana was forced to behave that way. Fuji TV later did an internal investigation for the incident without involving any third parties. Kyoko went to say that the report was full of lies and didn’t tell the actual truth.
Memorial Shows & Shop
In early February, Kyoko announced a Hana memorial online shop. This shop features merchandise dedicated to Hana. The proceeding from the shop is to go towards trial and lawyer fees regarding Hana’s case.
Moreover, Kyoko has announced a memorial match for Hana during the anniversary of her death called ‘See You Again’, this show will be held in Korakuen Hall. The tickets will go on sale at the end of February.
Kimura is also teaming up with Kai Koboyasi, Hana’s housemate from Terrace House who was involved with her in the fight incident, to start a by any way possible.
Kyoko doesn’t have a glamourous social media presence like most of the stars. She keeps a low profile there. But she does have a blog where she writes her random memoir and thoughts.
Similarly, her writings express how severely Hana’s passing has affected her. You can read it here. (Tip: you might need to translate it if you don’t read Japanese.)
Twitter: 28.5k Followers
Instagram: 1.3k Followers
Blog: 292 Followers
Kyoko Kimura: Net Worth
As we know by now, Kimura is not very public about her personal life. In the same manner, her net worth and lifestyle are not known. But we do know that she is living her retired life with her husband and cats in Tokyo.
It is hard to estimate her net worth as wrestlers’ value depends on their ranking, experience, and league. It is even difficult for Kimura as she is already retired.
Reports have shown that an average professional wrestler earns at least $500k a year. For few star wrestlers, the number is more than $1 million. Also, there are endorsements, merchandise, and investments that add to their earning.
Since Kimura is from japan, it can be a very different scenario there. Internet sources mention her net worth to be around $1million-$5million.
What happened to Kyoko Kimura’s Daughter?
Kyoko Kimura’s daughter Hana died of suicide on 23rd May 2020. Following a widespread backlash for an incident in the Japanese reality tv show ‘Terrace House,’ Kyoko was found dead in her own house.
Before her death, Hana also worked as a professional wrestler.
Is Kyoko Kimura retired?
Yes, Kyoko Kimura is retired. After a 14 years old fulfilling career, Kyoko retired on January 22, 2017. She lives with her husband and works towards fighting to cyberbully.
Who is Kyoko Kimura’s husband?
Kyoko Kimura married a fellow wrestler and MMA fighter Isao Kobayashi in 2016 January. He is the fifth lightweight king of Pancrase and eighth featherweight King of Pancrase. Isao is 32 years old as of 2021.