Kyoto Animation Arsonist Sentenced To Death

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Shinji Aoba, the man responsible for the tragic Kyoto Animation fire that killed 36 people, has been sentenced to death by the Kyoto District Court. This information comes from a live report in the courtroom by NHK during the final sentencing of the trial.

The judge presiding over the case started by declaring the guilty verdict, but held off on announcing the sentence until the end. He then explained how he believed the arsonist’s actions were not the result of mental illness. This was the main argument used by the defense during the trial, as Aoba had already admitted to the crime.

After that, the judge went over Aoba’s personal background. As a child, the arsonist faced mental and physical abuse, including being burned. He later dropped out of junior high school and eventually grew up to be the type of person that threatens his co-workers by kicking metal chairs.

The judge then began to read aloud the list of all 36 victims of the arson, along with their cause of death.

Kyoto Animation had rejected a light novel submitted by Aoba for a contest. He held a grudge against the studio and believed his idea was later plagarized by them. While living in isolation a month before the incident, Aoba began planning a violent act in response. At first he had thought to commit mass murder at Omiya Station but abandoned the idea to make Kyoto Animation themselves pay. So after deliberate consideration, Aoba used gasoline to set fire to Kyoto Animation’s Studio 1 building on July 18, 2019.

After a one hour recess, the trial resumed. The judge believed that while it could be argued if Aoba’s delusions had reduced his chances of preventing the act, they had no bearing on his general sense of right and wrong. Aoba was neither insane nor mentally deranged in that regard, according to the presiding judge.

The judge then emphasized that the victims of this heinous act were not only the ones who died, but also the survivors who still suffer psychological trauma from seeing their colleagues engulfed in flames.

With all of these reasons laid out, the court announced that Shinji Aoba has been sentenced to death for arson, the murder of 36 people, and the injuring of 32 other people.

kyoto animation arson attack

The Kyoto Animation arson attack was one of the deadliest massacres in Japan since World War II. The undisputed facts of the case along with Aoba’s admission meant that the primary point of contention in this trial was over his sentence.

Defense claimed that Aoba committed the arson due to a delusion which made him believe the studio had stolen his work, resulting in the arson. Prosecution argued he was still fully responsible for his actions despite the limited role his delusions may have played. Aoba also had a prior criminal history as he was jailed for three and a half years for robbing a convenience store with a knife.

The animation studio accepted donations to help the survivors, the families of the deceased, and the studio itself. All donations to the studio were declared tax-exempt through a first ever measure passed by the National Diet. Donations pour in both domestically and overseas, along with general love and prayers from fans everywhere.

Kyoto Animation made their comeback to the industry in Summer 2021 with the release of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S, followed by Tsurune – The Linking Shot – in the Winter 2023 season. The studio has also announced the third season of Hibike! Euphonium which is set to release in Spring 2024.