Near / Byuu Suicide

Near / Byuu Suicide

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Updated Jun 29, 2021 at 11:59AM EDT by Brandon.

Added Jun 29, 2021 at 12:59AM EDT by Brandon.

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Content Warning: Portions of this entry make mention of suicide, which some may find difficult or upsetting. If you need support or are dealing with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's website or call 1-800-273-8255.


Near / Byuu Suicide refers to the event on June 28th, 2021, where it was said that the BSNES emulator creator, known as Byuu or Near online, took their own life after blaming Kiwi Farms users for cyberbullying them. Though Byuu did suffer from different afflictions, this news came as a surprise to many around the web, resulting in a widespread discussion surrounding the death. A longtime figure in the emulation, video-game archiving and online forum spaces, Byuu had both supporters and detractors online.


Byuu first started work on an emulator for the Super Nintendo Emulation System back in 2004. After seven years of work, the emulator that was called the "BSNES" neared completion and was considered the most accurate emulator for the SNES at the time. From there, they continued to become a tour de force for emulation as well as retro gaming as a whole, as they started the process of archiving many old, rare video games. In the process of acquiring many rare games for archiving purposes, concerns were brought up that Byuu would not be sharing the archives with others and was essentially hoarding many games that would never see public release online, leading to controversy among some retro gaming fans. That combined with continual pressure from others online led to a post being made on December 12th, 2014, on their self-hosted website[1] in which they talked about having depression and declining health (shown below, click to expand).

Depression This past year, I've become increasingly disillusioned and unhappy that my only really serious talent is in computer programming. Everything else I try and excel at goes absolutely nowhere. My studying has been off and on, but I realize that I've spent the last fifteen years of my life drawing and studying Japanese. I'm getting old, and my health is starting to fail. And yet my drawings look like something a ten year old would make, and I sound completely retarded whenever I try and say anything in Japanese. This is insane. It makes my physically ill to think about. Even if by some miracle, I mastered both of these tomorrow, half of my productive life in using these tools has been permanently lost, and I can never reclaim that time. At this rate, I won't be skilled in either before I am too old to do anything anymore. I'm going to end up dying almost entirely with regrets. I'm so f------ tired of it all. No amount of studying or practice ever seems to lead to any meaningful improvement. These human brains, especially mine, are so unbelievably f------ terrible. Intelligent design my god damned ass. It is absolutely absurd that to memorize a single word, I have to drill on it literally thousands of times before my brain takes the f------ hint. And by the time I do it, I've pushed two other words that I used to know out. Nobody would design something so unbelievably stupid, cruel and frustrating, unless they were a sadist. But I won't ever give up: I'm just going to have to go completely insane on it and dedicate every last free hour I have to them. Life isn't worth living if we can no longer better ourselves. This will be probably the longest shot I've ever taken, but .. if anyone out there is fluent in Japanese (as in, not "I took a college course once and I have a Japanese girlfriend"), and is willing to chat with me about anything, I would truly appreciate that more than words could express. I'd be happy to return the favor with lessons on English, programming, emulation, reverse engineering, ROM hacking or server administration. I need someone to have actual communication with. But I know what a tall order that is: who would want to talk to someone they could barely understand, right? It drives me up the wall trying to listen to people who can't speak English, so it's only fitting that the reverse would apply to me. It's not that I choose to be annoyed by bad English, yet it's still karmic justice, right?

Following this blog post, there were various incidents with fellow members of the retro gaming, emulation, game development, trans and furry communities over the next few years, which were collected and documented as a way to turn Byuu into a lolcow.

Controversial Thread

The initial reports of the suicide lay blame at the hands of the website Kiwi Farms, which is infamous for its handling of lolcows. This is because Kiwi Farms itself started as a wiki for Chris-Chan, so the community's foundation is built on bullying lolcows.

On May 14th, 2018, a Kiwi Farms user made a long forum post detailing Byuu's online life and several controversies over the years, casting them in a less than positive light. The post[2] itself links out to multiple examples of Byuu in the wild, as well as casting a final judgment about them while posting links to every account associated with them. The thread went by for two years with users posting to it irregularly until February 7th, 2020, when Byuu posted a reply to the thread. The reply[3] was mostly Byuu agreeing with some of the finer points of the post, and admitting that they do act out online sometimes while inviting others to poke fun at them (shown below, click to expand).

Feb 7, 2020 I Highlight DD E #103 N Sigh, since I screwed up yesterday engaging, so against all sound judgment, I'll post here once. I've been wanting to thank the OP for a while anyway. You can verify me by my signup e-mail if you want. Look, I'm the first to admit that I'm a joke of a person. I spent half my life reverse engineering video game systems. That's *weird*, but no one else was going to do it as thorougly, and I've helped improve all SNES emulators, not just mine. At least it's a little tiny bit useful to society, and lets people have a bit of fun reliving their childhoods. It could be much worse. But it doesn't give me a pass to act like a sperg online. You're most welcome to observe and laugh at me. I only interacted yesterday because not 30 minutes after making my new Twitter handle, my notifications started having your accounts popping up in them, and my referral logs were showing your thread link. (By the way, consider adding noreferrer to your outbound links to be less conspicuous. Or don't, I'm not your dad.) Near Throwaway O

Byuu later goes on in the comment to own up to past controversies and even goes as far as to say thank you to the original poster for making the thread, as it acted as a "wake-up call". Byuu then said[3] that they will support the thread being shared, and will personally counter-claim if it gets stricken by any legal agencies, and saying there are no hard feelings about the post (shown below, click to expand).

I'm not going to condone anything here, but honestly . I appreciate that this thread was made. I really do. It put all my b------- in one place and it was a bit of a wake-up call for me. I'm not perfect, but I've been trying to get my s--- together as much as I could these past two years now. I'm not going to dismiss my friends, or those who happen to be trans, or furry, or on the spectrum, or whatever it is you guys dislike to fit in here. So I'm sure it's never going to be good enough. I *do* dismiss anyone who hurts another child or animal, though. Putting those people in jail is the one thing I support from here. I took the valid criticisms to heart and I've been making changes. I took down my old articles, I stay out of politics and online arguments, and I'm keeping my head down and staying productive instead. I'm working on making software now that people don't hate, and that aren't filled with my own bizarre hangups. I'm trying to pass on my knowledge so that someone can take the torch when I'm gone. So sincerely, and only in my case and no one else's, thank you for the wake-up call here OP. No hard feelings. I'm not asking you to take it down, and I know you never would anyway. Keep it. Mirror it. Put it on a titanium disk and ship it into space. I'll own all of my mistakes. If you ever get a DMCA or GDPR request or some b------- on this, it's not me. Send me an e-mail and I'll counter-claim it myself. People do impersonate me (eg on Stormfront), so keep your guard up against any false flagging or white knighting, please. I support free speech absolutely, even when it's speech I don't like, because silencing it only makes things worse. I even defended Tom in the recent Goemon translation controversy, knowing that'd lose me support among my friends. And I'll lose a lot of support by simply posting here at all. So be it.


Despite this apparent acceptance of the thread, when the suicide was reported on, initially it was Kiwi Farms that was blamed. This is seen in the initial YCombinator post. The post,[4] titled "Bsnes author Byuu bullied to suicide by KiwiFarms" is a Google Drive document that was uploaded by the user endlessmike. The document[5] is a two-page detailed account where Kiwi Farms is continually brought up as the source of stress and contention with Byuu, called Near, and it ends with a signature from "Marcan."

Published on behalf of a mutual friend of Near and I, who wishes to remain anonymous for their own protection. – Marcan

A Twitter account by the same name, @Marcan42, also tweeted out the document and a long thread about Byuu. In the thread,[6] Marcan said that they spoke to the police to confirm Byuu's death, that no further questions will be answered and that Near expressed wishes that charities and donations not be made in their name (shown below, click to expand).

Hector Martin @marcan42 · Jun 28 Replying to @marcan42 I have spoken to the police department in charge of the investigation, and they have confirmed that Near passed away yesterday, June 27th 2021. In respect of their privacy, I will not be seeking out any further information. Please don't ask. 40 17 174 973 Hector Martin @marcan42 · 23h ... Every single person involved/aware did their best to save Near's life at every point in time given the information they had access to at the time. We failed. 31 27 42 610 Hector Martin @marcan42 · 20h ... Since this has come up privately a few times: I've been told that Near's wishes were for donation drives and similar fundraising campaigns to never happen in their name. Thank you. 2 17 44 424

This thread, combined with the document and YCombinator news post, led to outrage against Kiwi Farms in late June 2021. This outrage was seen within the Twitter thread itself as people replying were trying to find the host of Kiwi Farms in an attempt to get them taken off the internet in a similar manner to 8chan. These calls to action were eventually answered, as Kiwifarms became the target of a DDOS campaign, bringing the website down on June 28th.

Kiwi's Response

With Kiwifarms down, the only way to get a message out to people was on the error page. Kiwi's owner, Josh, made a long-form post on the error page of Kiwi detailing a few things before making accusations in the tail end.

In his error page,[7] which is now unviewable as the DDOS campaign has ended, Josh claims that the allegations that Byuu is dead are dubious, citing that no one knows their true dox and that there is no other evidence existing that shows a connection between Kiwi's thread and the supposed suicide except for Marcan's Twitter post and Google Doc that admits to being a third-party account. He then goes on to show with archived links, emails and thread posts that show Byuu as the aggressor in this, and further claims that Byuu is faking this suicide to try and extort Kiwi Farms and get it to shut down for good (shown below, left and right, click to expand).

KIWI FARMS Hello! Someone is currently paying money to DoS attack the forum. While the Kiwi Farms and everything on it is legal, DoS attacks are a federal crime. You may be looking for information on Byuu / Near. Since I can define this error page, I will use it to relay some information. If you're a regular, I promise the site will be back up this week, probably sooner rather than later. A Twitter user published a Google Doc explicitly blaming the Kiwi Farms for harassing Byuu. No evidence of this harassment exists. Byuu had a 13 page thread on the forum. Byuu participated in this thread. You can read the thread in archives here. 13 pages on the Kiwi Farms is an extremely small amount of discussion, especially for a thread as old as Byuu's. Last year, Byuu said in this thread directly that he was not affected by the thread in any way. You can read the archive here and here. The document claims that Byuu took his own life. No evidence of this exists. The person claiming to know he has died refuses to elaborate or provide evidence. The last call with Byuu described in the accusation does not make sense. Consider that this person is supposedly an real life friend of Byuu (when Byuu also claims he had no real life friends), and consider that he did nothing for half an hour, but could remember the call well enough to describe an obscure French metal song playing in the background. This is a ridiculous story. It does not pass any level of scrutiny and is not told in a way that makes sense. Byuu has a history of accusing people of stalking and harassing him. He made a post on his forum (which has since been deleted) accusing a rival emulator developer named Squarepusher from Retroarch of doing the same. A copy of this post is here. There is a claim that Byuu was 'doxed, then harassed in real life. This is also false. Nobody knows who Byuu is. Even after years, nobody knows his last name. Nobody knows where he lives. Nobody knows where he works. He is completely anonymous and even now it is not possible to do a wellness check on him. Byuu emailed me before posting his tweet chain. You can read it here. In it, he attempted to exort me. Byuu claimed that if I did not delete all information about him on the forum, he would kill himself and blame me. He offered me $120,000 cash. I saw this as a legally and morally dubious offer at best, entrapment at worst, so I declined. He also offered me his services helping write software for the Kiwi Farms. I told him I would have to consult an attorney regardless. He did not wait even 24 hours after his first email before closing communications and deciding to go through with his plan at 3am my time. In his emails to me, he promised a trusted friend would deliver a scan of his passport on Twitter within 5 hours of him killing himself as proof. Two days later, we still do not have this passport scan or any evidence he has killed himself besides the testimony of a Twitter user, citing an anoynmous third party. The Kiwi Farms is an entertainment site. It exists to talk about people. The site does not exist to punish people. It's not a Jigsaw-esque torture chamber to teach people the value of life. It's Internet nerds gossiping about their favorite e-celebs. In the 8 years we've been around, Byuu is the first person to name the Kiwi Farms as a cause of suicide, despite claiming not even a year ago he had no issues with his forum thread. His intentions are clear, but nothing else about this story is. If he was going to have to abandon the 'Byuu' persona and disappear anyways, why not pull this stunt? I will not be extorted. Josh <> bclqvghgzdewy7tar78uy29ypqjwaur3ueecknln69

When looking back at the original YCombinator news post, the user endlessmike does prove to be an account that was created that day with only the one post and nothing else attributed to the account. This, combined with the emails that Josh (called Null on Kiwi Farms) provided (shown below),[8] gave the users of Kiwi Farms enough doubt to call into question that the suicide even took place, making the original 13-page thread balloon into a staggering 92 pages.

To: Null <>
From: byuu <>
Date: June-26-2021 12:59 PM

I can't do this anymore.

I've tried therapy, I've tried every anti-depressant available in Japan, I've erased my entire internet presence back in July. I've tried everything, but nothing works. I can't stop having panic attacks. I can't stop feeling humiliated. I can't stop spending every hour of my life worrying about what your users are going to do next to me or my friends both onsite and off. It's been a three-year nightmare for me.

I know I'm different, but I've tried my best to be a good person. To learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. To help others wherever I could. But I've always been ridiculed for being different. It's been a constant my entire life. It's unbearable.

I can't live like this any more, it has wrecked my entire life. I really can't explain why this hurts me so deeply, and I know it's irrational. I can only tell you that I can't handle this anymore. "byuu" is all I have. I have no real-life friends, no identity off the internet, this is it. There's no other reason for my being but to try and emulate game consoles for people. I put my entire life into this.

So I'll give you the choice.

If you'll take down my thread, I'll offer you my entire life's savings: $120,000 USD, as much of that as you want, however you want it. I'll further offer you my services as a 20-year software engineer, free of charge. I've done my best the past three years to better myself and make changes for every point criticized there. I'm not involved with the fandom or non-binary scene and haven't been for years, I was just desperate to fit in somewhere. My politics are centrist and kept to myself, my social media accounts are all long-gone. You won't hear of me again, I'll just post emulator releases and that's it, absolutely no internet presence otherwise, on my word. And I'll keep going to therapy to try to get past this. This is me just outright begging you with everything I have. Please give me the chance to get through this. You won, a thousand times over already.

If not, then I'll reply with my dox: a scan of my passport, a recent photo, and proof that it's mine, for confirmation. And then I'll hang myself. I live alone, I've tested my setup with a slipknot on a solid climbing rope over a door frame, I've spent weeks doing my research on this, it works. I can nearly pass out with little effort or discomfort, the carotid arteries are easily compressible. A kick stool should be all that's needed. It won't fail, but if it were to, I live on the 14th floor and have a balcony. On my reputation and honor, having had no history of ever threatening this nor of being untruthful in my 20+ years online, I give you my word that I'm serious. You can post this e-mail if you choose. I won't make a big fuss about it online though, don't worry. It doesn't matter anymore.

I really tried to avoid getting to this point, but every day has been worse than the last for too long now. Those two weeks were the only time in the past few years where I felt any happiness at all. So it's up to you. Let me know what you decide please, or if you want anything else from me.

~ byuu

This email was accompanied by a picture of a rope, a screenshot supposedly showing a bank account flush with cash and a large assortment of pills. Null/Josh replied in kind, saying that he will have to get his lawyer involved[8] (shown below, click to expand). After this email, they continued to exchange words back and forth before they post their picture and name, and the emails end.

From: Null <> To: byuu <> Date: June-26-2021 1:10 PM You're putting me in a very uncomfortable position. The smartest thing for me to do is simply ignore your email, but I generally try to be nice to people. Every word that I say in reply to you will eventually be used against me. If I help you, I've censored my website and my users may be upset. If I don't help you, I could be under investigation due to your actions. Even if my users don't care, accepting money as you've offered could be a violation of some extortion laws. I will have to consult at least one of my attorneys regarding the criminality of this issue no matter what. Though in follow-up, why does this small discussion thread bother you so much? If you're in Japan, taking medication, and making enough money to have $120,000 in liquidity laying around, what does the Kiwi Farms deprive you of to make it worth that much money or your life? I don't see anyone on the thread talking about hurting you, so I don't understand what you mean by "what they'll do next".

Search Interest

External References

[1] Byuu –

[2] Kiwi Farms – Byuu Thread

[3] KiwiFarms – Byuu Reply

[4] Ycombinator – Endlessmike

[5] Google Docs – Marcan

[6] Twitter – Marcan

[7] Kiwi Error Page – "Josh": Unrecoverable

[8] KiwiFarms – Null

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