National / Crime & Legal

Comments bashing Kyoto Animation, posted last fall, found on internet forum

JIJI

Comments from last autumn criticizing Kyoto Animation Co., also known as KyoAni, have been found on an internet forum and police are investigating the posts for a possible connection with the deadly July 18 arson attack at the company’s studio in the city of Kyoto, sources said.

The comments, posted between September and November 2018, were similar to claims made by the suspect, Shinji Aoba, 41. They included “(KyoAni) rejected my manuscript,” “I was betrayed” and “(The idea of my work) was stolen, so my manuscript has lost its meaning,” according to the sources.

Comments about engaging in violence were also posted on the forum, such as “I’ll run into KyoAni with an explosive” and a post referencing “indiscriminate terrorism.”

It is unclear whether these posts were made by the same person.

According to investigators, the suspect told police during his capture following the attack that his novel had been stolen by the anime company.

It has also been found that an applicant by the name of Shinji Aoba had sent a manuscript to KyoAni’s novel competition in the past. It was rejected in the first-stage examination period.

The Kyoto Prefectural Police Department is examining the suspect’s personal computer and smartphone confiscated from his home in the city of Saitama.

The attack, in which Aoba poured gasoline in and set fire to the KyoAni studio, killed 35 people and injured many others. The suspect himself suffered severe burns and is still being treated.

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