Kyoto Animation Issues Statement About July 18 Fire
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Kyoto Animation posted a message to "everyone around the world" in Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, and German on Monday. The message reads:
An unprecedented atrocity has robbed many of our friends and colleagues of their bright futures and has left many deeply injured.
News from all over the world tells us that amazingly many number of people has sent us their hearts and prayers, which are like candles in the darkness, for those of us trapped in the darkness of deepest grief.
There are many friends and colleagues who are hospitalized and suffering, fighting for their lives.
Please give us some time.
We promise that Kyoto Animation will continue to create animation that help people have dreams, hope and impress them.
Kyoto Animation will continue to make its employees and staff lead happy lives, and contribute to society and local community.
I assure you that Kyoto Animation will not give up, we will not go quietly into the night...we will not vanish without a fight!
Kyoto Animation Co. CEO Hideaki Hatta
On July 18 at around 10:30 a.m. JST, a devastating fire broke out at Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio building, killing 35 people and injuring 33 others. 30 fire engines responded to the fire, and firefighters were able to extinguish most of the fire within five hours after it started, but the fire was not fully put out until 6:20 a.m. on July 19.
Of those confirmed dead after being located at the studio, firefighters found two people on the first floor, 11 people on the second floor, one person in a stairwell between the second and third floors, and 19 people on the stairwell between the third floor and the rooftop. Of those killed, police have reported that 21 were women and 14 were men.
Kyoto Prefectural Police have already apprehended a 41-year-old man who allegedly used gasoline to start the fire, and are investigating the case as arson. The suspect is among those injured (although he is separate from the above-mentioned injured people). Police have not yet released an official statement on the suspect's motive.
The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper stated that according to investigative sources, the suspect told police that he started the fire because he alleges Kyoto Animation "stole his novel." Hatta stated on July 20 that he has never heard the suspect's name before, and no one by the suspect's name has submitted a novel to the company. Kyoto Animation solicits drafts of novels as part of its Kyoto Animation Awards program.
In an interview for the mass media on July 20, Kyoto Animation president Hideaki Hatta stated that after the fire, he is considering demolishing the building and creating a public park at the spot of the fire that will include a monument. He added, "when I consider the staff and the people in this neighborhood, there are people who don't want to see such a gruesome sight." Hatta is also considering hosting a memorial ceremony for the victims.
He also told the press that all the messages of support from around the world are "becoming our emotional support."
Aside from a fire in a commercial building that killed 44 people in 2001 (where arson was suspected), the incident is the worst mass murder in Japan's post-World War II history.
Several organizations, such as Sentai Filmworks, Crunchyroll, Animate, T-Point Japan, the Japanese Animation Creators Association, and The Association of Japanese Animations, among others, are collecting donations or messages of support to support the company and the victims. Kyoto Animation also opened an account to accept donations directly.
Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio building is located near Rokujizō Station in Uji City in Kyoto. Most of the studio's main line production takes place inside the building. The company also has a head office, a 2nd Studio building, a Tokyo Office, and the Animation DO building in other locations.
Yoko Hatta founded the company as Kyoto Anime Studio in 1981, with her husband Hideaki Hatta as the president. The company has since worked on a number of notable anime productions, but is perhaps best known initially for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-ON!, Lucky Star, and Clannad, and later for such works as Free!, Sound! Euphonium, A Silent Voice, Violet Evergarden, and Liz and the Blue Bird.
At the time of the fire, the company's current announced projects were: a new anime project for Sound! Euphonium, a new Violet Evergarden episode (slated for September 6) and film (slated for January 10, 2020), an all-new Free! film (slated for summer 2020), a second season for Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, an adaptation of Hiro Yuki's 20 Seiki Denki Mokuroku novel, and the Baja no Studio: Baja no Mita Umi anime short.
Source: Kyoto Animation