Prayers Continue For Kyoto Anime Studio Victims

Prayers continue for Kyoto anime studio victims

Many people have gathered to offer prayers to the victims of the Kyoto Animation studio fire and to leave flowers on an altar set up near the building that was set ablaze on July 18.

It's the second weekend since the fatal arson attack, which killed 34 people and injured 34 others in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto.

Fans left flowers and message cards with anime characters drawn on them. Some came in groups with fellow fans. Others were praying alone.

A junior high school girl from neighboring Shiga Prefecture said the works of Kyoto Animation had made her feel better when she was down. She said she's full of sadness right now.

Anime fans also gathered at the site of the fire, about 100 meters from the altar, to mourn the victims.

A man in his 30s from Osaka who has been a fan of Kyoto Animation for more than 10 years said when he first learned of the incident, he couldn't focus on his work. He said it was crushing to see the site of the fire, which left him speechless.

Police have obtained an arrest warrant for 41-year-old Shinji Aoba for suspected arson and murder. He has been hospitalized for serious burns that he sustained in the fire.

Meanwhile, anime fans gathered in the US capital Washington have prayed for the victims of the Kyoto Animation studio arson attack. The July 18 attack killed 34 people.

The gathering is part of Otakon, which began Friday. It is one of the world's largest conventions for Asian pop culture including anime, manga, and video games.

A representative said, "Words simply cannot describe the loss to so many people." The participants held a moment of silence and offered prayers to the victims.

A Memory and Wish Wall was set up at the venue for fans of the studio to leave messages and share their thoughts.

Some participants drew characters from works by the studio. Others left messages of encouragement in Japanese.

Anime lovers head for Otakon from across the US. A woman dressed as a character said the Kyoto studio had everyone's "full support" and that Japanese animation has had a huge impact on American fans.