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Fans parade portable shrine to pray for recovery of arson-hit Kyoto Animation

A "mikoshi" portable shrine themed on the popular Japanese anime "Lucky Star" is carried by fans shouting characters' names, in the city of Kuki, Saitama Prefecture, on July 28, 2019. (Mainichi/Kaho Kitayama)

KUKI, Saitama -- A "mikoshi" portable shrine themed on the popular Japanese anime "Lucky Star," produced by arson-hit Kyoto Animation Co., was paraded in this city north of Tokyo on the evening of July 28.

Though organizers mulled calling off the annual mikoshi event in the wake of the deadly attack on a Kyoto Animation studio, it was held according to schedule to pray for the company's revival.

Participants offered silent prayers for the victims at around 7 p.m. during the Yasaka Matsuri festival held in the area around Washinomiya Shrine in the city of Kuki, Saitama Prefecture.

Many fans of Lucky Star hoisted up the mikoshi and paraded while shouting rhythmic chants. A 17-year-old participant said, "Fans are still looking forward to animations produced by Kyoto Animation." The third-year high school student of Kuki added, "I'm going to carry it (mikoshi) while praying for their early recovery."

Lucky Star is based on a comic about the daily lives of high school girls written by manga artist Kagami Yoshimizu, and the anime was broadcast in 2007. Its popularity brought many fans to the Washinomiya Shrine, on which the Takanomiya Shrine where the parents of the Hiiragi sisters, the main characters, reside, is based. Such fans have paraded the handmade mikoshi, featuring illustrations of Lucky Star characters, since the 2008 summer festival.

(Japanese original by Mitsuo Koga, Saitama East Bureau)

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