Suspect in Japan’s Deadly Anime Studio Fire Arrested After Recovering 10 Months Later

kyoto animation studio

The man suspected of burning down a Kyoto anime studio last year was arrested on Wednesday by local authorities. 

Shinji Aoba, 42, is accused of setting Kyoto Animation’s No 1 studio on fire on July 18 last year, leaving 36 people dead. 

Authorities obtained Aoba’s warrant 10 months ago but had to wait for him to recover from the severe burns he sustained from the fire. The arrest was made after the Japanese government lifted the state of emergency just this week, Associated Press reports.

Aoba, who is now facing charges of murder and arson, was apprehended by the Kyoto police after he recovered enough that he was able to comply with the investigation. His movements still require assistance as he is still unable to walk or feed himself.


In video footage shown on local news, Aoba’s face is scarred and his eyebrows are sinched off. He was carried into a police station strapped to a stretcher.

During the attack, it was reported that around 70 people were working inside the studio, as previously reported by NextShark.

According to witnesses, Aoba entered the studio’s unlocked front door carrying two containers of flammable liquid. Upon entering, he allegedly dumped the liquid on the floor and set it on fire with a lighter.

In an interview with the Japanese media, one of the survivors recalled how he was forced to jump from a window of the three-story building. He noted that as he was gasping for air, he saw “a black mushroom cloud” erupting from the lower floors. 

Others were not as lucky and died of carbon monoxide poisoning after failing to escape to the roof.

Due to the fire, Aoba sustained severe burns on his face, torso, and limbs. He was unconscious for weeks following the attack.

Aoba would later tell investigators that he set the studio on fire because “(Kyoto Animation) stole novels.”

Formal criminal charges may be filed against him within the next few weeks.

Featured image via Nippon TV News 24 Japan

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