At least 33 people are dead at a Kyoto anime studio after a 41-year-old man lit the place on fire, allegedly shouting “Drop dead!” and “Die!” while he poured petrol around the building.
About 70 people were in Kyoto Animation Co.’s main studio when the attack — believed to be Japan’s worst mass killing in nearly 20 years — took place around 10:30 a.m. local time on Friday, according to the Guardian. The suspected arsonist, who has not been named, is currently being treated for injuries at a hospital in Kyoto. It’s unclear whether he’s connected to the studio.
20 of those killed were women, according to the Washington Post.
“So many people were killed or injured. It’s so appalling I can’t find a word to say,” Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, wrote on Twitter after the attack.
Dozens were injured in the blaze, according to the Japan Times. Dead bodies were found across the building, with four victims discovered on the stairs and 11 on the second floor.
“This has just broken our hearts. What’s the use of resorting to violence?” Hideaki Hatta, president of the anime company, told the Japan Times.
Kyoto Animation, or KyoAni, is known for producing shows about the daily lives of schoolgirls and high-quality feature films. The company was founded in 1981 by Yoko Hatta, an anime producer married to Hideaki.
A GoFundMe to assist victims of the studio fire has already amassed $430,000.
Arson is a crime punishable by death in Japan, according to the Japan Times.
Cover: People watch the three-story studio of Kyoto Animation Co. in Kyoto on July 18, 2019, after a man allegedly set it on fire. The studio is known for producing the popular TV animation series "K-On!!" and "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya". (Kyodo via AP Images) ==Kyodo