The neighborhood association for the area where the Kyoto Animation arson attack took place, have rejected a proposal for a memorial park where the studio once stood.
Mainichi Shimbun (via Sora News 24) report that despite the Kyoto Animation arson attack on July 18th taking the lives of 36 people (and injuring 33), local residents have requested not to have a memorial site.
The building’s interior has already been demolished (ready for full demolition), and Kyoto Animation CEO Hideaki Hatta had said one week after the attack “If it is possible, I would like to turn the site into a park, and erect a monument.” This week however, the neighborhood association (“chonaikai”) for Momoyama-cho, Fushimi Ward have submitted a letter to Kyoto Animation requesting no such memorial be built.
“If large numbers of people are continually visiting the site, it will destroy the peaceful lifestyle [of the residential area].” The letter came after a meeting earlier in December, in which 23 residents were all against the idea of a memorial (including a Mr. Machiuchi who may be the group’s leader or representative). It should be noted that some homes are next to the studio’s former site.
The letter also requested that Kyoto Animation to keep the association involved in discussions for what the site will be used for, and to announce its intentions once the demolition is completed (in April 2020). Kyoto Animation has reportedly stated it will attempt to satisfy all parties- including bereaved families, the local community, and stakeholders.
The arson attack had been one of the worse mass killings in two decades for Japan, and an outpouring of donations resulted in ¥5.7 million being raised for its victims and families. Japanese “otaku politician” Yamada Taro was also allegedly “instrumental” in making sure the donations were not taxed.
In short, a lack of memorial could quickly become a hot-topic for not just Kyoto Animation fans and families of those involved- but all of Japan. While Japan is typically a more collective-focused society, will the wishes of the neighborhood trump what others want?
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