A 41-year-old man is suspected to have started a fire on one of the biggest animation studios in Japan – Kyoto Animation studios – on Thursday morning killing 33 people and injuring 35 others.
According to a witness, the suspect was heard shouting ‘die’ as he poured a liquid that looked like gasoline on the floor studio. He then set the studio ablaze.
The suspect suffered burns on his arms, legs, face and torso and is currently in hospital.
Police have said that as they apprehended the suspect, he shouted that his work had been plagiarized.
Kyoto police recovered a backpack with several knives and two canister of gasoline-like liquid near the scene of the fire.
According to police, the fire appeared to have started near the front door of Kyoto Animation Studio on Friday 4:30am East African Time.
This forced people to scramble for an outlet upstairs to the roof. The firefighters found 20 bodies on the staircase leading to the rooftop, 11 on the second floor and two on the first floor.
Before the fire, Kyoto Animation had received death threats on their email though it is not clear whether they were related to the Friday fire.
“They were addressed to our office and sales department and told us to die. I am heartbroken. It is unbearable that the people who helped carry Japan’s animation industry were hurt and lost their lives in this way,” the chief executive of Kyoto Animation, Hideaki Hatta.
Founded in 1981, Kyoto Animation, is known for its high school films. Some of their hit films include ‘Lucky Star’ in 2008, ‘K-On!’ in 2011 and ‘Haruhi Suzumiya’ in 2.