Issei Sagawa: The Celebrity Cannibal Who Walks Freely

June 19, 2018
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Issei Sagawa, first experienced cannibalistic desires during his first grade, after seeing a male’s thigh. In a 2011 interview, Sagawa shared that as a youth he partook in bestiality and experienced cannibalistic desires for women.

The meek, 5-foot Japanese man attempted to cannibalize a German woman as Tokyo when he was 23 years-old but was arrested and charged with attempted rape. He did not confess his true intentions to authorities.

At the age of 27, Sagawa emigrated to France for further studies. In that period of time, he would bring prostitute home and then try to shoot them, but to no avail as his fingers would freeze up and he couldn’t pull the trigger.

It was until June 11, 1981, that he fulfilled his desire for human meat. The victim, Renée Hartevelt was his classmate who was an exchange student. He raped her corpse but was unable to bite into her skin, so he left the apartment and purchased a butcher knife. For two days, Sagawa ate various parts of her body, saving other parts in his refrigerator.

He then attempted to dispose of her body, putting them into two suitcases and was caught in the act at Bois de Boulogne Park, just outside Paris. Issei Sagawa, professed during his arrest, “I killed her to eat her flesh.”

Ultimately he said his only regret was that he hadn’t eaten her while she was alive.

“What I truly wished was to eat her living flesh,” he said. “Nobody believes me, but my ultimate intention was to eat her, not necessarily to kill her.”

After being held for two years awaiting trial Sagawa was foundegally insane, and unable to stand trial for Hartevelt’s murder. The French authorities subsequently deport him back to Japan, where he was sent into Matsuzawa hospital.

Japanese authorities tried to convict him for his crimes, but a loophole in the law led to Sagawa’s subsequent release. He checked himself out of the hospital on August 12, 1986, and remained free. His continued freedom has been widely criticized.

Up till today, the desire for human meat is still in Sawaga. As quoted by him, “I want to eat them again while I’m alive, so that I can at least be satisfied when I die.”

He’s even planned out how he will do it.

“I think either sukiyaki or shabu shabu [lightly boiled thin slices] is the best way to go, in order to really savor the natural flavor of the meat.”

 

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