Haruma Miura, a famous Japanese actor was found hanging at his home in Tokyo and confirmed dead in the hospital on Saturday afternoon. The news was reported immediately, bringing surprise and saddens to those who knew him and his work. A few days after his death, his SNS’s accounts are still updated with lots of fan’s comments and websites are full of news examining the reason of his death. At the age of 30, a young person lost his life again and Japan lost a national treasure.
Haruma Miura was born in Ibaraki in 1990. His mother got divorced when he was a baby, which is why his family name “Miura” is her mother’s last name. His debut was at 7 as an extra on NHK’s famous morning drama “AGRI”. In 2006, acted as the boyfriend of the female hero on “14-Year-old Mother”, which made him rise to popularity. In 2007, the romantic love movie “Koizora” made him win the Japan Academy Prize for Best Rookie. “Eternal Zero” and the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots” for his role as a drag queen made him a solid star with great success in the entertainment world. No one could deny his talents.
On July 18, 2020, he didn’t appear at the shooting site of his latest drama, which was set to premiere in September. His last appearance was at the shooting site on the previous day, and he reportedly had chatted and shared laughs with his costars. His attitude was the same as usual. On July 18, there was no response from him when they tried to contact him. The door was closed. When his manager and the apartment manager opened the door, he was found hanging in his closet. Beside him was a notebook where he had written his wish to die.
After his mother’s remarriage, his family name was changed to Sasamoto. He was a junior high school student at that time, understanding his mother’s decision, he treated his stepfather as his real father. His new parents run a small local restaurant called “Kitchen & Bar Sasa” in Ibaraki.
According to his coworkers, he was a sensitive and stoic actor. When he was 19 and acting in two dramas as a protagonist, he reportedly stated that he wished to quit his job and return to Ibaraki as a farmer. But it was his mother who heard his true voice and encouraged him to keep on. He was a single child and had a very strong relationship with his mother.
During the COVID-19’s emergency declaration, he shared a lot of information about his cooking on social network sites. A family neighbor said that, after Miura’s debut, his mother often went to Tokyo to take care of him. Those healthy and tasty recipes could possibly have come from his mother.
No one knows the reason, but his family no longer runs the restaurant now and no one lives at their origin home in Ibaraki. Neighbors say his mother and grandmother ran away about three years ago and that his parents live separately now. From around that time, his close friends started to worry about him because he was drinking too much and quite often, and because he preferred to drink alone.
Contradictory to his family’s complicated circumstances, his success continued to rise. He had a regular NHK TV program where we was an MC and some movies scheduled to be released this month and in 2021.
He was eager to learn English and studied in England for three months in 2017. According to some source, he wanted to stay longer but his agency Amuse opposed, so Haruma needed to come back immediately afterwards.
Aside from the TV and movie roles, he was also actively on stage as well. The musical “Whistle Down the Wind”, where he played the main role, started on March 7 and was canceled on the 29th before it was set to finish. Before it was decided that the musical would have to be cancelled, the show’s official SNS account received a flood of criticism because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This ended up annoying Haruma since he a chairperson of the stage. Recently, a female television personality committed suicide because of online harassment on social media. It is speculated that the criticism Haruma received could have been one of the triggers that lead to his death as well.
Moreover, he released his first book in March and the fans were looking forward to his preview event which was postponed to this fall for the COVID-19’s second pandemic.
At least, he had to play multi roles and those had been pressing this responsible, vulnerable, and young but matured actor.
— ミュージカル『ホイッスル・ダウン・ザ・ウィンド 〜汚れなき瞳〜』 (@WDTWofficial) April 5, 2020
Haruma’s death on July 18 fell on Saturday, when a huge music TV program was being broadcasted. There were lots of musicians who had worked with Haruma, including Yu Shirota. Haruma’s best friend was on the show as well and couldn’t stop crying while singing. Erika Ikuta, the actress who co-starred in “Whistle Down the Wind” also decided not to show on stage. From the perspective of TV viewers, the news of Hiruma’s death had impacted many entertainers, and these were just a handful of people who missed him. The impact was immeasurable.
In Japan, the deaths of young people are part of a big social issue, but society is yet to regard it as one. We must know we can reduce suicides. When someone commits suicide, many members of society usually fail to understand depression and blame the decision on the individual, labeling them as weak. Japan needs a better understanding on depression if we want to tackle suicides.
Some says that is ironic that Japan is a country where people work too hard and end up committing suicide. If someone had noticed Haruma’s silent SOS and understood that depression is not a weakness or a trait that can be overcome by just “thinking positively”, we might have not lost one of our treasures.
Haruma, beautiful soul. R.I.P.