Image from Twitter/@_PoruSachikawa

33 dead, 36 severely injured in Kyoto Animation Studio arson in Japan

A suspected arson attack at an animation studio in Japan at 10:30am on Thursday, 18 July left 33 dead and 36 seriously injured, says police.

Japan’s NHK reported that an unidentified man poured what appeared to be gasoline at the entrance of the Kyoto Animation Studio before setting it on fire which erupted into a blaze. Based on eyewitness accounts, the arsonist apparently yelled ‘Die!’ during the act.

Reuters reported that a woman who saw the suspect being detained said he seemed to be discontented and had “shouted something about how he had been plagiarised”.

The police said that there were 74 people in the building at the time of the fire which was extinguished about five hours later.

The police found gasoline cans, kitchen knives, and a hammer were near the studio which they suspect belonged to the arsonist.

The suspect had fled the scene but was captured by police later that day only about 100 meters from the studio. The man sustained serious burns in the fire and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Image from Twitter/@_PoruSachikawa

The police said that the 41-year old is a former resident of Saitama City, north of Tokyo, but currently has no permanent address. They also said that he had never worked at Kyoto Animation. His connection to the studio remains unclear as do his motivations.

According to NHK, the President of Kyoto Animation, Hideaki Hatta said that they had received some threatening emails recently. “They were addressed to our office and sales department and told us to “die.”

The police have yet announce any determinations.

Kyoto Animation was founded in 1981 and produced animations, sells anime items, and trains animators. It is one of Japan’s well known animation studios having produced anime series such as “sound! Euphonium”.

The studio, located in Uji City, is situated between two train lines close to a stream, houses, and small apartment blocks. Nearby there is also a taxi company parking lot. The area was cordoned off on Friday morning by the authorities.

The studio sits between two train lines close to a stream amid houses and small apartment blocks, a few stores and a taxi company parking lot. The area was cordoned off on Friday morning.