Photo/IllutrationCondolence messages in Japanese, English and Chinese are posted on a board at a commercial facility in Tokyo’s Akihabara district on July 25. (Yosuke Fukudome)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

KYOTO--Anime fans from Japan and abroad continued their outpouring of condolences and grief one week after the arson attack on an animation studio here killed 34 people.

Early on the morning of July 25, mourners started lining up to offer flowers and prayers at a makeshift stand near the charred remains of the No. 1 studio of Kyoto Animation Co.

“I came here to send my sympathies and condolences, but when I saw that the studio was beyond recognition, I became lost and couldn’t find the words,” said Yuri Sakamoto, a 37-year-old company employee from Aichi Prefecture.

Sakamoto stood and stared quietly at the remains of the studio at 10:35 a.m., the time exactly one week ago when the fire was set.

The studio’s exterior walls used to be yellow, but now they are black. A burnt odor still emanates from the three-story building in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward.

Audrius Sabunas, a 28-year-old graduate student who lives in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, came to the site with colleagues from his research lab to offer flowers.

Sabunas, a Lithuanian national, said he watched Japanese anime when he was in high school, and that experience was instrumental in his learning about Japanese culture and society.

“I offered flowers with a sense of respect to those innocent victims involved in the arson attack,” he said.

Kyoto prefectural police said the fire killed 34 people and injured 34, many of whom remain hospitalized.

A 41-year-old man suspected of pouring gasoline at the studio and setting it ablaze is listed in critical condition with burns all over his body.

At Keihan Uji Station in Uji, about 4 kilometers from the crime scene, visitors heeded a local nonprofit organization’s call and created about 2,000 paper cranes to pray for the speedy recovery of the victims. One of Kyoto Animation’s popular works, “Sound! Euphonium,” is set in Uji.

A 19-year-old fan came from Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, to fold paper cranes.

“I have been concerned the whole time. I came here because I wanted to do more and be there for them,” he said.

Deep condolences and personal sympathies for the victims continue to be expressed in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, a sanctuary for anime fans.

At Atre Akihabara, a busy commercial facility near JR Akihabara Station, a special board was set up on July 19 for messages to victims of the previous day’s arson attack.

“Because of you, KyoAni, I could hang in there during rough times,” one card on the board reads, referring to the shortened name for the company.

The board was initially 1.2 meters in length and 2 meters wide. It was soon expanded to more than twice the original size.

The board is now filled with cards, and fans are now pasting their messages on the walls of shops in the building.