Japanese public broadacster NHK is reporting that the Police is looking into the motive of the suspect of the Arson attack at Kyoto Animation’s first studio building last July 18.
The authorities had raided the apartment of 41-year-old Shinji Aoba, who is the main suspect in the attack, located in Saitama.
Investigative sources tell the news media that among the items the authorities had seized is a computer and smartphone which they believe owned by the suspect, as well as several Kyoto Animation products.
The authorities, according to sources, has also found manuscript papers in the apartment.
Police has also obtained a warrant of arrest against the Aoba for charges of arson and murder, but they have not formally arrested the suspect because he is still being treated in the hospital for serious burns.
They plan to serve the warrant after he recovers from his injuries, but they have previously said that he has confessed to the crime.
Daisuke Okeda, lawyer and spokesperson for KyoAni, has confirmed in an email to Japanese news media that a person with the same name and address of the suspect has submitted an entry for the Kyoto Animation Award contest.
The lawyer is saying that the entry submitted by the person was eliminated on the first round of screenings due to formatting issues and was not shared within the company.
The studio is certain that there are “no aspect or similarities” between the anime shows it produced and the submitted entry by the person in question, the lawyer adds.
Kyoto Animation Award is a novel-writing competition where they ask professional and amateur writers to submit new stories to the company. The contest was first held in 2009, but was held irregularly.
Winners of the competition would have their novels published through the studio’s KA Esuma Bunko imprint and may be given a chance to have its own anime adaptation, as well as monetary prizes.
Some of the works that had been submitted to the competition include Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, Beyond the Boundary, Free! and Violet Evergarden, which was the first title that won the competition’s grand prize.
Kyoto Animation’s first studio building, located in Uji City in Kyoto Prefecture, was engulfed in flames on Thursday, July 18, at 10:30am local time (09:30am PHT) which took the lives of 35 people and severely injured 33 more. The fire burned for about five hours before it was extinguished by firefighters.
Local police said that there are about 74 people inside the building when the fire started. They also said that out of the 35 people that died on the attack, 21 were women and 14 were men. The company previously said that one of the 33 people injured has their legs amputated.
A 41-year-old man, named Shinji Aoba residing in Saitama, was apprehended by the police and was identified by witnesses as the suspect, who threw gasoline inside the building and shouted “Die!” before setting the building on fire.
The authorities say that the suspect claimed his work is being “plagarized” by the animation studio, and demanded the head of the company to talk to him.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that, according to investigative sources, the suspect was previously arrested in 2012 for armed robbery at a convenience store and he was sentenced to three years and six months in jail.
This incident is now considered as one of the deadliest massacres in Japan’s history since the end of World War II, and one of the deadliest building fire in the country after Myojo 56 building fire in 2001, which is also suspected as arson.
When news of the Kyoto Animation fire broke, messages of support from fans, world leaders and businesses made its way to social media, including from technology giant Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Embassy of the Philippines (Tokyo).
North American anime distributor Sentai Filmworks had set-up a crowdfunding campaign to help the anime studio and the victims of the attack, which ended on July 31. The campaign collected a total of USD2,370,920 (about PHP121.8 million) for 14 days, which includes software giant Adobe Inc.’s donation of USD50,000.
Several organizations, including Crunchyroll streaming service and Animate retail shop, had also set-up their own fundraising and support campaigns.
The anime studio also opened a bank account on Thursday last week to accept donations, which they plan to give to help the families of the victims of the attack, as well as for the studio’s rebuilding.
The company also announced in a media interview that they are considering demolishing the first studio building, which would be replaced by a public park and a tribute to the victims of the attack.
Kyoto Animation was founded in 1981 by Yoko Hatta and her husband Hideaki Hatta. The animation studio is known for producing several popular anime titles in recent years like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On!, and Free! Iwatobi Swim Club among others.
Their latest work was the drama anime Violet Evergarden, which was released on streaming service Netflix on a simulcast basis in 2018.
The anime studio was also responsible for the critically-acclaimed anime film adaptation of A Silent Voice, which was screened in Philippine cinemas in May 2017.