Issei Sagawa

Issei Sagawa is a Japanese man responsible for murdering and cannibalizing a Dutch woman in 1981, Renee Hartevelt.  After he was released, he caught the interest of the media and started to make a living out of the crime that he committed.  Because of his frequent appearance on the media, people started calling him “The Cannibal Celebrity.”

Compared to other renowned murderers who were poverty stricken when they were kids, Issei Sagawa comes from a wealthy family.  He was able to attend the University of Paris, On June 11, 1981, the 32 year old Issei Sagawa invited his classmate, Hartevelt to dinner at his apartment for a short literary conversation.

Immediately after Hartevelt arrive on Sagawa’s apartment, he shot her in the neck using a rifle.  He then proceeds on his main objective of eating her.  Sagawa admired the beauty and health of Hartevelt, he believes that by eating her, he would be able to acquire those qualities.  An act of vampirism famous in Asia, one draws out the energy of its victim rather that its blood.  But in the case of Sagawa, he did both by feeding on her flesh and blood in hopes that he would be able to absorb her energy.

Sagawa first claimed that he lost his consciousness upon shooting her but he immediately realize that he had to carry out his original plan of eating her.  He first sexually assaulted the corpse, and then began eating her hips and legs.  He compared the human meat to a tuna, odorless and soft.  He wanted to get rid of the body evidence by dumping it to the lake, but he was apprehended in the process.

His wealthy father provided him with the best lawyers and after a series of trial, he was found legally insane and unfit to stand on a trial.  The court then ordered Sagawa to be admitted in a mental asylum.  The continuous publicity of the case of Sagawa led the French authority to extradite him to Japan.  Upon his arrival on his homeland he was immediately taken to a hospital where he was found in his sanity but referred to him as evil.    But the Japanese authority lacks the proper documents to send him to prison for the reason that they were being held by the French authorities.


Sagawa then admitted himself in a mental institution and became a free-man on August of 1986.  The life of Sagawa has been the source of inspiration to some of the macabre movies and songs.  

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