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.

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