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Kyoto Animation Arson Suspect Submitted Novel to Studio Contest

Kyoto police and a lawyer for Kyoto Animation have confirmed that arson suspect Shinji Aoba submitted a work to the company’s novel contest.

Aoba’s reported motivation for the July 18 arson attack on the company’s three-story No. 1 studio was that Kyoto Animation, familiarly known as KyoAni, had stolen his novel. The attack killed 35 and injured 33 KyoAni employees.

According to attorney Daisuke Okeda, the work submitted by Aoba didn’t make it past the first round of judging in the novel contest, which KyoAni started 10 years ago. The winners are turned into paperback volumes and made into animations. Because it did not progress past the first round, Aoba’s novel was not kept in studio records or shared by studio staff.

Okeda told the media on Tuesday that “there are no similarities between the contents of the submitted novel and any work by Kyoto Animation.”

Kyoto police confirmed that the submitted novel is indeed Aoba’s. They have also searched his apartment in the Tokyo suburb of Saitama and traced his whereabouts in the days leading up to the attack, including his purchases of gasoline.

Aoba is under treatment in hospital, severely injured in the fire that he allegedly started. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, though he has yet to submit to police questioning.

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