NHK reported on Friday that as of 3 p.m. JST on Friday, the bank account Kyoto Animation opened on Wednesday to accept donations after the deadly fire at the company’s 1st Studio building on July 18 has raised 620 million yen (about US$5.7 million). The account had raised 274 million yen (about US$2.53 million) from 14,000 sources as of 3:00 p.m. JST on Thursday. The company will give the funds to families of the deceased and injured victims of the fire, as well as for rebuilding.
Kyoto Animation stated on Tuesday that it will post information on its website about other fund-raising activities on the studio’s behalf after it confirms them. The company updated information on Friday with links to other organizations that are raising funds for the studio, including Animate, T-Point Japan, the Japanese Animation Creators Association, and The Association of Japanese Animations.
Sentai Filmworks’ GoFundMe campaign to help Kyoto Animation and the victims has raised more than US$2 million, and as of press time has raised US$2,228,520.
The Right Stuf retailer and licensor additionally announced a project on Thursday where people can donate to Kyoto Animation’s bank account through Right Stuf’s website. Right Stuf said it is collecting the money until August 31 and then will transfer the funds through a one-time international transfer. Right Stuf stated it will also make a contribution itself, and will cover the cost of the wire transfer.
On July 18 at around 10:30 a.m. JST, a devastating fire broke out at Kyoto Animation’s 1st Studio building, killing 34 people and injuring 34 others. 30 fire engines responded to the fire, and firefighters were able to extinguish 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 13 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). The suspect was taken to another hospital via helicopter on July 20. Police have yet to fully arrest or interrogate the suspect, as he is still injured, and as such have not released an official statement on the suspect’s motive. Police will later interrogate the subject to obtain his motive for the alleged attack.
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.