A fire, suspected to be arson, at a Kyoto, Japan animation studio has left at least 33 people dead and hospitalized more with injuries. A man in his 40s, allegedly seen pouring a flammable liquid at the site and setting it on fire, has been taken into police custody.
The fire occurred at the Studio 1 building of Kyoto Animation, one of Japan’s most popular producers of anime. At around 10 a.m. JST Thursday morning, residents living near the studio heard the sound of an explosion and saw smoke emitting from the building, which is located in Kyoto’s Fushimi ward. One witness said the suspect was screaming “Die” as he lit the fire.
Kyoto Animation, founded in 1981, is known for anime like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, K-On! and more recently, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Free!, among many others. While the building that was set on fire was its main animation studio, the company’s head office is in Uji City, Kyoto, which is about 20 minutes away by car.
The company’s co-founder and CEO Hideaki Hatta told reporters that for the past few years, death threats had often been sent to the company.
In the aftermath of the event, fans have posting messages, expressing sorrow and offering condolences using a #prayforkyoani hashtag on Twitter.
This developing story has been updated since its original publication. A list of updates is below.
Updated: 7/18/2019, 8:26 a.m. ET: Thirty-three people have been confirmed dead.
Updated: 7/18/2019, 7:09 a.m. ET: Twenty-five people have been confirmed dead.
Updated: 7/18/2019, 6:09 a.m. ET: Fans have posting messages, expressing sorrow and offering condolences using a #prayforkyoani hashtag on Twitter.
Updated: 7/18/2019, 5:18 a.m. ET: Kyoto Animation CEO Hideaki Hatta told reporters that for the past few years, death threats have often been sent to the company.
Updated: 7/18/2019, 4:36 a.m. ET: Sixteen people are now confirmed dead, the Japanese TV media reports.
Updated: 7/18/2019, 3:30 a.m. ET: An announcement scheduled tomorrow for Kyoto Animation’s new Free! movie has been canceled. [Editor’s note: This update originally stated that the movie had been canceled. It has not. We regret the error.]
Updated: 7/18/2019, 3:08 a.m. ET: The Japanese media is now reporting that seven people are confirmed dead.
Updated: 7/18/2019, 12:59 a.m. ET: One witness said the suspect was screaming “die” as he lit the fire.
Updated: 7/18/2019, 12:46 a.m. ET: According to Japanese TV news, there are still people trapped in the studio and there are 20 people who are still unaccounted for.
Earlier: Sankei News reported that 38 employees have been taken to the hospital for major and minor injuries. ANN added that nine people are unconscious. According to Kyoto Shimbun, one person is reported dead.