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Mother of Kyoto Animation artist who died in arson wants memorial; residents opposed

19 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Last Saturday marked exactly six months since the arson attack on Kyoto Animation that resulted in 36 deaths. The company has since resumed operations and demolition work has already begun for the fire-ravaged building in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward, but even that lengthy process is a short and simple one compared to processing the emotional grief of victims’ families, such as the mother of Naomi Ishida. Naomi, a color designer, was among those who died in the July 18 attack, and in speaking to reporters from NHK her mother voiced her wishes for how the studio’s site should be used once the demolition work is complete.

“I want them to build a monument. Not in some other place, but in the same place where the studio was. If there is no monument, decades from now people will forget that it was a place where so many people worked so hard creating animation, and loving what they made.”

The elder Ishida’s desire echoes the idea floated by Kyoto Animation CEO Hideaki Hatta shortly after the incident, and it’s a sentiment that many fans likely share. On Jan 18, the six-month anniversary of the attack, a number of fans gathered at the studio site, including a 40-something father and his junior high school-aged son, who had traveled from Kanagawa Prefecture, several hours away from Kyoto even by bullet train. “For the past year, it’s felt like there’s a hole in my heart,” said the father, whose son’s interest in anime was sparked by the works of Kyoto Animation. “We came to offer our prayers before the building is cleared away…All we can hope for is that he souls of those who passed away can rest in peace.”

Also visiting the site were a woman in her 20s from Osaka, who came with her eight-year-old daughter, and told reporters “I pray that my girl will be able to watch new anime from Kyoto Animation, and that a bright future is waiting for the company.” And in a sign of the studio’s international acclaim, a Chinese college student currently studying in Tokyo also was at the site, in hopes of processing her “sadness that [she] cannot put into words” and pay her respects to the victims.

However, there’s also a group that’s opposed to the idea of turning the site into a memorial: the people who actually live in the neighborhood. As discussed late at the end of last year, the Inaba Higashi neighborhood association, made up of residents of the part of the Kyoto City where Kyoto Animation’s studio was located, have said they don’t want a park, monument, or any other sort of beacon for mourners installed. Kinya Adachi, president of the association, says that the sudden added presence of so many out-of-area visitors is disrupting residents’ way of life.

“When we open our front doors, there are people standing there. When we need to pull our cars out of our driveways, we have to ask people to move out of the way,” Adachi reports. “Recently, kids can’t even play outside…If they erect a monument here, there’ll be a limitless number of people coming to the area,” Adachi says, a prediction at least partially supported by the various, far-off parts of Japan visitors came from on Jan 18. “I don’t want the site to be turned into a place that threatens residents’ lifestyles.”

Adachi’s concerns, which are shared by many local families, can’t be dismissed out of hand. While Kyoto Animation is a highly respected company in an increasingly international industry, its Fushimi studio was located in a quiet, mostly residential neighborhood. Having such a tragic event occur on in their community has undoubtedly been traumatic and stressful for those who live nearby (there are private homes literally across the street from the studio site). How to weigh the desire of fans and victims’ families to tangibly preserve the memories of those who died versus residents’ need to be able to live their lives without being constantly reminded of the arson attack is a question without an easy answer, but one that definitely needs to be given its proper consideration.

Source: NHK News Web via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Kyoto Animation president wants to turn site of arson attack into memorial park for victims

-- Kyoto Animation arsonist sent more than one novel to company as part of annual writing contest

-- Kyoto Animation has a touchingly kind plan to distribute its 3.2 billion yen in arson donations

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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The initial surge in people coming to see will abate, and in future years it will be friends and relatives who come to sit, contemplate, make a connection with those they lost. The neighborhood needs to take on this responsibility for those who died, to find a collective empathy to help those who lost someone grieve and mourn and have somewhere to come. I hope the neighborhood realises this and isn’t so callous as to be “inconvenienced”.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Visitors will probably arrive only for the first few weeks. After that it will probably return back to normal.

I support the memorial construction.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

People often erect small shrines on the roadside where a loved one was killed. Small public park with a small memorial stone.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Kinya Adachi, president of the association, says that the sudden added presence of so many out-of-area visitors is disrupting residents’ way of life.

Omotenashi at work once again! Hospitality exists here, so long as it doesnt include us!

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Ultimately it's up to the residents. No one is going to forget where and what happened in the near future, and a public memorial is not necessary if the local people don't want it, as much as families of the victims might.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

A memorial stone, or even a metal plaque set in concrete, in the ground, with the names of all

who perished and how, the company, date, ages and jobs of the departed, would not "inconvenience" anyone. It needs to happen.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Disgustingly selfish. People standing outside when you open your door!!?? The horror.

every one of the dinosaurs on that committee should be ashamed.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I support the memorial in memory of the victims and the hard work that they did.

Full Metal Panic from Kyoto Animation is one of the animes that I like the most.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A bit melodramatic with the memorial idea.Plus who would foot the bill?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why not turn the building into an exhibition memorial gallery owned by Kyoto Animation? Visitors can view inside, it will be educational, donate if they wish, remember those who were killed, promote their animation work, and keeps visitors off peoples driveways.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I would like to see a small children park where children can play and be happy, if its just a stone plaque, it could be a very sad place, the best solution would be to have a small park/childrens area, with a monument, then every body should be happy, Who's going to pay for it? well how about a web site for donations so fans can contribute, also the local town council could contribute as well. and the animation studio could donate as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How about an online digital memorial instead?

As long as people remember, surely it doesn't really matter where the actual remembering takes place.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Being a local resident myself, perhaps I can elaborate on what the Association leader was talking about. In the area directly adjacent to it in front of the building is a very narrow road barely why did Knouff for two cars much less pedestrian traffic from nearby stations. So until the city widens the road it’s quite a dangerous place to walk, and drive.

So if you can imagine dozens and dozens more people per hour walking on that narrow road it is incredibly inconvenient not to mention dangerous.

if the city can pay for road widening on that particular street, I wouldn’t have a problem with memorial being built.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The road could be widen using some of the donated money.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“When we open our front doors, there are people standing there. When we need to pull our cars out of our driveways, we have to ask people to move out of the way,”

Oh the horror. The horror.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So if you can imagine dozens and dozens more people per hour walking on that narrow road it is incredibly inconvenient not to mention dangerous.

Do you really think that the numbers will increase because a small shrine is built on the site to the memory of those who died?

I suspect that this has more to do with not wanting to lower real estate value - Japanese people are very superstitious about violent death and might assume that the area is haunted if there is a shrine there to the deceased.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Te mayor shall decide considering the peace the area deserved and safety of everyone.

I disli'e the idea to have burials everywhere...

Earth will be covered by that with time.

I don't need a reminder of how people died somewhere even if it was unfortunate (and especially if murdered...)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan needs to seperate residential and working zones. Currently anything can be built next to anything else.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan needs to separate residential and working zones. Currently anything can be built next to anything else

True - cities here are just so random, but in many ways, that is part of the charm of what are otherwise pretty ugly places.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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