33 dead in arson attack on Kyoto Animation

Suspect under police guard in hospital

by Jennie Kermode

Kyoto Animation Studio before the fire
Kyoto Animation Studio before the fire Photo: Mike Hattsu

At least 33 people were killed yestetday when a fire broke out at Kyoto Animation, the studio behind 2016 anime hit A Silent Voice. The fire was apparently started by a 41 year old man who is believed to have accused the studio of ripping him off. Petrol was splashed around the building and ignited. He was seen running from the building but collapsed and was taken to hospital where he remains in police custody.

A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice

Staff at the company, which produces some of the country's most popular series, are understood to have received anonymous death threats in the mail prior to the attack. Witnesses have described hearing an explosion and seeing fire spread rapidly through the three storey building. Most of the casualties were trapped on a staircase as they tried to escape. A similar number of people have been taken to hospital, some with life-threatening injuries. Directors Naoko Yamada, Tatsuya Ishihara, and Taichi Ishidate have been confirmed as safe.

The fire was the most devastating to occur anywhere in Japan for almost two decades. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his horror and offered his condolences to those affected. Meanwhile, other anime studios and fans from around the globe have been sending their sympathy.

Share this with others on...

Coming from reality François Ozon on discovering testimonies and making By The Grace Of God

Documenting the rainbow The non-fiction highlights of this year's NewFest

Hidden Places Isabelle Huppert on filming in Sintra, fashion and Frankie

Engaging Martin Scorsese Gay Talese on Martin Scorsese and The Irishman

Recording the soul Arnaud Desplechin on editing, Oh Mercy! and Cries And Whispers

A contemporary character Pietro Marcello on his film of Martin Eden and Jack London’s novel

Diversity Rocks Sarah Gavron and Theresa Ikoko on capturing the teenage spirit and pushing the industry forward

Oscar animation longlist revealed 32 films under consideration

More news and features

We're bring you coverage of this year's Cambridge Film Festival.

We're looking forward to New York's NewFest, the London Korean Film Festival and the French Film Festival.

We've recently been at the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff, Manchester's Grimmfest, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival, the San Sebastian Film Festival and Fantastic Fest in Austin.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


More competitions coming soon.