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Kyoto Animation Studio arson disaster victims remembered in ceremony

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                A woman prays at a makeshift memorial to honor the victims at the Kyoto Animation Studio building on July 19, 2019.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A woman prays at a makeshift memorial to honor the victims at the Kyoto Animation Studio building on July 19, 2019.

KYOTO >> A memorial ceremony to mark one year since the fatal arson attack on Kyoto Animation Co. was held Saturday at the site of the company’s No. 1 studio in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, with 94 people attending, including 85 family members of victims.

The July 18, 2019, arson attack on the popular animation company sent shock waves across the globe. Thirty-six people were killed and 33 were injured.

The service started at 10:30 a.m., the time when the attack took place.

“I miss you every day. I feel lonely every day. I can’t help but look for you,” said the wife of Futoshi Nishiya, who was 37 and designed characters for the anime film “Koe no Katachi” (“A Silent Voice”), in her speech. “I’ll live the rest of my life with a sense of loss.”

Shinji Aoba, 42, is suspected of setting the fire after dousing the first floor of the studio building with gasoline. More than 7,500 square feet of the three-story building burned to the ground. Board member Yoshiji Kigami, 61, and Yasuhiro Takemoto, the director of “Rakisuta” (“Lucky Star”), were among the fatalities. One person is still hospitalized.

Kyoto police arrested Aoba on May 27 on suspicion of murder and other charges. Psychiatric tests will determine whether Aoba is capable of bearing criminal responsibility.

The KyoAni building was demolished in April.

Many people around the world paid tribute through social media.

“I would not be what I am now without KyoAni’s works,” said one tweet.

At about 10:30 a.m., a memorial video by Kyoto Animation was posted on YouTube. Condolences poured in almost immediately. They included “Silent prayer,” “Rest in Peace” and “Thank you, KyoAni,” all with the hashtag “#PrayforKyoani.”

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