Families do not want the incident to fade from people’s memories, according to source.

Next month will mark three years since the arson attack on Kyoto Animation, which resulted in the deaths of 36 victims. Though the company itself has resumed regular operations, three years isn’t nearly enough time for the mental healing process necessary to recover from one of the largest mass murders in modern Japanese history, and an ongoing point of debate is what should be done with the ground on which Kyoto Animation Studio #1 once stood.

Less than a week after the attack, Kyoto Animation president Hideaki Hatta said, “If it is possible, I would like to turn the site into a park, and erect a monument,” and six months later that sentiment was echoed by the mother of one of the artists who was killed, saying “I want them to build a monument. Not in some other place, but in the same place where the studio was.” Now, after extensive discussions, Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun newspaper is reporting that a decision has been reached to do just that, with the establishment of a committee to create a memorial at the site.

Last December, Kyoto Animation held a meeting with victims’ families to discuss the possibility of a monument, and talks have continued in the months since. According to Mainichi’s unnamed source, the majority of the family opinions were in favor of building an on-site memorial, and a committee has now been formed consisting of four family members, five Kyoto Animation executives, and eight other Kyoto animation employees. The committee will be holding regular meetings to discuss the design of the memorial as well as the timing for when it should be installed.

Kyoto Animation itself is yet to make any official announcement regarding the project, but among the reasons given by families wanting a memorial, according to the source, were “I want to avoid the incident fading from people’s memories” and “I want a place where we can offer prayers.”

However, residents of the surrounding neighborhood have been less agreeable to the idea of an on-site memorial. Despite turning out anime of the highest quality, Kyoto Animation Studio #1 was located not in the heart of downtown Kyoto, but in a quiet residential neighborhood in the city’s Fushimi Ward, with single-family homes located directly across the street from where the studio was.

▼ Google Streetview still shows the studio before the attack.

Given the high profile of the incident and the enduring love for Kyoto Animation from the company’s worldwide fan base, many in the neighborhood have expressed concerns about the number of people likely to be drawn to what is likely to become a pilgrimage site so close to their living spaces. No matter how respectful the intentions of visitors may be, the neighborhood wasn’t designed with such crowds in mind, and the local residents’ association has previously sent a written request to Kyoto Animation asking that the company not build an on-site memorial.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Yahoo! Japan News via Otakomu
Top image: Wikipedia/L26
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!