At least 10 people have been killed in a suspected arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, Japan.

Local media quoted police as saying a man broke into the Kyoto Animation Co studio on Thursday and threw an unidentified liquid, starting a fire.

Dozens of people were also reported to have been injured.

The suspect, who has not been named, has been detained and was taken to hospital with injuries.

Fire service officials said 10 of those injured were in a serious condition.

“A man threw a liquid and set fire to it,” a Kyoto prefectural police spokesman told news agency AFP. No other details of the suspect or possible motives were given.

Public broadcaster NHK said the man had been heard saying “drop dead” as he set fire to the building.

The fire broke out at the three-storey building about 10.30am local time on Thursday.

People near the site said they heard a series of explosions and later saw people carried out in blankets.

“A person with singed hair was lying down and there were bloody footprints,” a 59-year-old woman living nearby told news agency Kyodo.

Another witness said he saw “red flames flaring”.

Overview of an animation company building which caught fire in Kyoto on July 18, 2019. - A fire at an animation company in Japan's Kyoto on July 18 killed one person and injured dozens more, several of them seriously, a fire department spokesman said.

The building was severely damaged. Photo: JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / AFP

Kyoto Animation, known as KyoAni, produces popular animation shows including K-On and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

On social media, many fans have been expressing their shock and posting pictures of their favourite KyoAni shows.