Issei Sagawa : Japan’s Celebrity Cannibal




“I touch the cold body again and I wonder where I should start. I start to cut off all the meat before amputating the limbs. While I cut her calf I suddenly want to taste it. I see the beautiful red meat beneath the fat. I grasp her knee and her ankle, and tear it with my teeth. It is tender. I slowly chew and savor it.”
On the afternoon of June 13, 1981, a Japanese man named Issei Sagawa walked to the Bois de Boulogne, a park on the outskirts of Paris, carrying two suitcases. 
The contents of those suitcases, to the lament of a nearby jogger, was the dismembered body of a fellow student – a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt,whom Sagawa had shot three days prior and had spent the days since eating various parts of her.He was soon arrested. According to reports, Issei uttered, “I killed her to eat her flesh,” when they raided his home, whereupon they found bits of Renne still in his fridge.
“What I’m saying is, I can’t bear the thought of leaving this life without ever tasting that derrière that I saw this morning, or her thighs,” he continued. “I want to eat them again while I’m alive, so that I can at least be satisfied when I die.”



Sagawa was declared insane and unfit for trial and was institutionalized in Paris. 
His incarceration was to be short, however, as the French public soon grew weary of their hard-earned francs going to support this evil woman-eater, and Issei was promptly deported. Herein followed a bizarre and seemingly too convenient set of legal loopholes and psychiatric reports that led doctors in  Japan declaring him “sane, but evil.”
On August 12, 1986, Sagawa checked himself out of Tokyo’s Matsuzawa Psychiatric hospital.









Issei Sagawa self portret

After his release, he became a minor celebrity in Japan and made a living through the public's interest in his crime.

He has authored at least 13 books, including explicit accounts of his own experiences. In one, he describes how the Dutch girl’s flesh “melted in [his] mouth like a perfect piece of tuna”. He has also written about other people’s atrocities, including a book about the infamous child-killer Sakakibara.He appeared in the 1992 film Sisenjiyou no Aria (The Bedroom), in which women are drugged and subjected to bizarre sexual fetishes. Sagawa’s role as a sadistic voyeur drew directly from his public persona.
Another example of art imitating life is in Sagawa’s own painting, which focuses on the nude bodies of Caucasian women.

In one extraordinary display of "bad taste", he was once hired by a tabloid to write restaurant reviews.

--->Meet Issei Sagawa documentary from Vice




Directed by Toby Dye. With Issei Sagawa. The Cannibal that Walked Free (also known as Cannibal Superstar ) is a British documentary 

produced by Visual Voodoo for Channel Five which explores - through direct access - the bizarre psychology and twisted celebrity fame that surrounds Japanese cannibal Issei Sagawa.

Issei Sagawa Paintings >>>




Crime scene photos of Issei Sagawa’s meal.


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