July 18, 2019 was a sad day for employees and owners of the Kyoto Animation Co. Studio as the company’s building went up in flames. It was called the KyoAni arson attack. In total, about 36 people were declared to have been killed in the attack and 33 injured including the attacker, Shinji Aoba.
Report showed that the attack carried out was actually supposed to be a suicide arson mission but one thing led to another that as the perpetrator tried to escape, he was apprehended by an employee who later handed him over to the authorities. While being questioned by the police, Aoba admitted to pioneering the attack and explained he chose the facility in Kyoto because it was on the largest extension of the company in terms of the number of employees.
Shinji Aoba’s Bio: Age, Birthplace, Parents Siblings, Education
The suspected arsonist, Shinji Aoba was born in 1978, as at the time of the attack would be 41 years old. He is a resident of Saitama, a suburb in Tokyo. There are no public details about his parents, siblings, where he was born or what schools he attended.
What we do know are detailed reports describing him as being in the vicinity of the incident two days before the attack and later on perpetrating the attack. When he asked why chose to set the building ablaze, he accused Kyoto Animation of stealing his novel’s idea without carrying him along. He claimed the attack was entirely their fault as they were always stealing.
The KyoAni Arson Attack
It was reported that the suspect bought two 20-liter gas cans at a hardware store and prepared the inflammatory operation in a park near the Kyoto Animation building in Tokyo after he arrived there by train. This attack led to the killing of 36 people because of his weird belief that his novel had been plagiarized. Prior to the attack on the anime company had received several threats via email. It was not known if the threats were related to the attack, albeit, it was reported to the police.
The attack began with a loud explosion after the suspect entered the building, poured gasoline on several workers including the area and set it on fire. In the process, he set himself on fire too. It is believed that he entered the building with gasoline being transported in a trolley. In the process, he kept shouting die repeatedly.
The fire increased at a rapid rate completely blocking the entrance. As a result, several employees couldn’t find their way out. From the third floor to the last floor were dead bodies spread all over from suffocation. There were signs showing that people were trying to get out including the suspect who tried to escape but was later apprehended.
It was after the search and rescue by firefighters that everyone injured or dead was taken to the hospital and firemen declared that the office building was completely destroyed. The office building was classified as small and did not have any fire sprinkler or hydrants inside, but did not have any issue with safety compliance inspection. Did the building not have security? This was a question asked by reporters when trying to understand how no one could have seen Aoba entering the building. Reports showed that in order for employees or visitors to gain access to the building, they need pass cards yet the door was unlocked on the day of the attack. Other reports claim that there was actually no security set up in the office and door widely opened during working hours.
The arson attack demolished not only the building but also many documents, computers, and materials in the Kyoto studio. Things that were untouched by the fire were some keyframes placed on the exhibition in Toukishma. The attack was on one of their biggest facility, but they were still able to recover from a server some original digitized drawings.
Since the second world war, this attack is said to be one of the bloodiest massacres in the nation’s history and the deadliest fire to destroy a building in Japan after the 2001 Myojo building fire.
Shinji Aoba’s Criminal And Mental Record
Eight years before the attack on KyoAni, Aoba was arrested for a robbery attempt at a store in Ibaraki, the east side of Tokyo with a knife and was sentenced to three and a half years in solitary confinement after he was found guilty of the crime. It was allegedly reported that Aoba was suffering from mental disorders. He was residing in the city of Joso at the time. A Kyoto News agency claimed that he stole an amount close to $200 from the store. Following his release, he stayed in a housing area built for ex-convicts. There are speculations, however, that his sentence for the arson attack might not be death because of his mental state and would probably be sentenced to life in prison.