National

Kyoto Animation artworks go on display nationwide in remembrance of arson attack

JIJI

Bookstores and anime-related shops around the nation are hosting exhibits of original artworks produced by Kyoto Animation Co., whose studio was hit by an arson attack last week that left 34 people dead.

Exhibits, some of which were opened before the incident in Kyoto, are being held in Tokyo as well as the prefectures of Nagano, Osaka, Kagoshima and elsewhere.

At a bookstore in the city of Tokushima in Shikoku, fans pored over some 70 original illustrations used in anime shows such as the television series “Violet Evergarden.” The items on display included illustrations with intricate brushwork depicting the characters’ emotions, as well as ones with hand-written instructions by the art director on how to color in certain parts of the image.

“As an illustrator myself, I want to remember this view forever,” a 33-year-old man visiting the exhibit said.

“Many people contacted us after the incident, and we were reminded how much KyoAni’s works are loved,” a representative from the bookstore said, using the nickname for Kyoto Animation.

Anime fans left messages in a guest book, including one that read, “I cannot put into words how sad I am, I will cheer (Kyoto Animation) on.”

“I am just saddened by how many people have died,” a male university student said during his visit to a similar exhibit in Sapporo. “I want (Kyoto Animation) to get back on its feet and produce other works, no matter how long it takes.”

“Anime is one of the faces of Japan,” said a woman in her 40s who was also visiting the Sapporo exhibit. “I feel anger at how some people harm (others) out of selfish spite,” she added, referring to the suspected arsonist.

The Kyoto Prefectural Police Department, meanwhile, has established a task force of 110 specially trained officers to support people injured in the fire and families of those who fell victim to the attack.

The team will provide care for such people by escorting them to police stations and hospitals, advising them on necessary administrative procedures and distributing “support cards” bearing the phone number of a hotline for those in distress.