Donations top $30 million for Kyoto Animation arson victims in Japan

By Kevin Buckland

(Reuters) – Donations to Kyoto Animation topped 3.3 billion yen ($30 million) to support survivors and bereaved families after an arson attack on the film studio in July killed over 30 people.

A spokesperson for the Kyoto prefecture government confirmed on Friday the total amount raised following the studio’s decision this week to close the donation account. Kyodo News reported on the figure earlier.

The man suspected of torching the building had been convicted of robbery and carried out the attack because he believed his novel had been plagiarized, NHK and other media have said. Police have confirmed the identity of the suspect as Shinji Aoba, who doused the entrance of the building with petrol before setting it ablaze, media have said, citing police.

Tributes to the victims lit up social media after the attack, with world leaders and Apple Inc’s chief executive offering condolences.

As shock spread over one of the worst cases of mass killing in Japan during the past two decades, the hashtag #PrayforKyoAni, as the studio is known among fans, became popular.

Kyoto Animation, in a quiet suburb about 20 minutes by train from the center of Kyoto, produces popular “anime” series such as the “Sound! Euphonium”. It is also known for “Violet Evergarden”, which has been shown on Netflix.

Kyoto Animation said earlier this week it would coordinate with a prefectural allocation committee to disperse the funds.

The studio is working on animated films to be released in the spring, aiming to deliver anime “that fosters dreams, hope and excitement to people all over the world.”

(Reporting by Rocky Swift and Tim Kelly in Tokyo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)