The attack has been cited as the worst mass murder in Japan's postwar history.
Violent crime is extremely rare in Japan, but this past Thursday morning, a little after 10 am, a 41 year-old man proved that it is a possibility, as he casually walked into (the widely respected) Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio Building in Kyoto City and poured what investigators suspect to be gasoline around the building before setting fire to it. The perpatrator - who also got injured in the process - has since been arrested by police and has reportedly admitted to carrying out the crime. The monstrous act has left at least 33 dead, and even more injured, with an additional 36 people in hospital. Though his motive has not yet been determined, he reportedly shouted "die" as he was setting the fires.
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An explosion occurred in the building, in which victims said they heard themselves. A professor of fire safety and materials explained to a public broadcaster that a combination of: bad ventilation, an abundance of paper used by artists at the company and the large quantity of gasoline spread around the building by the attacker would likely have caused the fire to spread too quickly for people to plan their escape. Hauntingly, a spokesperson from the fire department reported receiving calls first, outlining an explosion on the first floor, and then later, which pleaded "the fire is rising, help us." A total of thirty fire trucks and ambulances reported to the scene to take victims to multiple hospitals around Kyoto, with all three of the building's floors being affected by the fire. Kyoto Animation was founded back in 1981, by producer Yoko Hatta and her husband Hideaki, with an office in Tokyo and a headquarters building in nearby Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture. The company has produced a number of TV-series, including K-ON!, Violet Evergarden: The Movie and A Silent Voice: The Movie.
Company president, Hatta said that the company had previously received random and anonymous death threats via emails, but didn't understand "why on earth did such violence [had] to be used." With Anime fans expressing their anger over the unexplainable event, and mourning the victims on their social media pages, a cloud-funding site was also started to help the company get back on its feet. Horrifyingly, witnesses reported hearing bangs coming from the building, with others alleging that they saw people coming out blackened by the smoke, bleeding, and walking barefoot, Kyodo News reported. The attack has been cited as the worst mass murder in Japan's postwar history.