WTF Facts

Issei Sagawa Who Killed, Had Sex with and Ate Friend in 1981

Written by Tadese Faforiji

Issei Sagawa a Japanese murderer, also known as the “Kobe Cannibal,” who (according to several publications (1) killed his friend, Renée Hartevelt, had sex with the corpse and later ate the remains, fulfilling a dream of 32 years in the making.

You may not be able to withstand the sorrow of reading and viewing some images in this post. It is quite unfortunate that Sagawa is still a free person in Japan to date.

Was Issei Sagawa insane?

Why did he kill Renée Hartevelt?

How did he take to eat human like him?

What happened to Sagawa when he was caught?

Tadexprof Coomunity Posed Questions

Who is Sagawa?

Sagawa was born in Kobe, Japan to a wealthy family. He moved to Paris, France in 1977 when he was 27 years old to pursue a PhD in literature, precisely at Sorbonne. According to Wikipedia, when he was in Paris, he brought home prostitutes almost every night, then attempt to kill them by shooting. However, for some reason, his fingers froze up and he couldn’t pull the trigger (2)

The Crave for Flesh

Issei’s favourite childhood story Hansel and Gretal is said to be one of the crazy books to deform his thinking. He has been in a hot urge for woman flesh since he was six.

Issei was not a recent criminal as of 1981, he had also been making some crazy moves to taste woman flesh since he was 20’s. Sagawa was at Wako University in Tokyo at the age of 24. He attempted to cannibalize a German woman he followed home and broke into her apartment.

He was caught by the woman as she suddenly awoke and was later arrested by the police. Although has was charged with rape, Sagawa never revealed his utmost intention to slice off the woman’s buttock and sneak away with it. His rich father paid a huge amount of money to the victim and Issei was released.

Killing of Renée Hartevelt

In June 1981, when he was 32, Sagawa invited his classmate, Renée Hartevelt, the n 25, (who was a Dutch woman) to his apartment to have dinner with him. And Sagawa also promised to be translating poetry for a school assignment.

In reality, Sagawa has already made up his mind to kill and eat Hartevelt because he thought she should be a good meal for his health.

When the poor Hartevelt got to his apartment she picked up poetry and started to read on the desk, backing Sagawa. Sagawa took out a rifle and shot her in the neck.

According to his story, he fainted with the sound of the gun and when he woke up, he first has sexual intercourse with the corpse and went out to buy a sharper butcher knife to cut his so-called delicious Hartevelt’s body.

He consumed several parts of her body, eating most of her breasts and face “either raw or cooked” and also saving others in his refrigerator. Surprisingly, he took photographs of her body at every single eating stage.

YouTubeCrime scene photos of Sagawa’s meal.
Francis Apesteguy/Getty ImagesSagawa being led out of his apartment following his arrest in Paris, July 17, 1981.

YouTubeThe suitcase that was filled with Renée Hartevelt’s remains.

Noboru Hashimoto/Corbis via Getty ImagesIssei Sagawa still walks free through the streets of Tokyo.
Xuanyizhi/WeiboIssei Sagawa pictured in a promotional photograph for a Japanese magazine.

Sagawa attempted to depose the remains of Hartvelt’s body in a lake in the “Bois de Boulogne, carrying her dismembered body parts in two suitcases.” But he was caught in the process and arrested by French police four days after.

Sagawa’s rich father provided a lawyer to defend the case, and after being held for two years awaiting trial, he was said to be legally insane and not fit to stand any trial by Jean-Louis Bruguière (3), the French judge who also ordered him held indefinitely in a psychiatric hospital”

Since that period, Sagawa started to be gaining popularity among authors, writers, movie producers, journalists and others. Amid the publicity, the French government deported him to Tokyo.

In all the interviews he had, Sagawa never felt remorse, and also several hospitals he checked himself out confirmed that he was sane. Till today, Sagawa is free and could not be legally detained in Japan.

Lots of people still criticize the freedom of Sagawa, especially when he is not even feeling bad for the big crime. Sagawa still wants to eat more before he dies, according to him.

Sagawa’s Health Issues

Sagawa was hospitalized from cerebral infarction in 2013, which permanently damaged his nervous system (4). Currently, he lives alone and his daily assistance is being provided by caregivers and his younger brother. Although, he claimed to have “regretted the obsession,” but wants to taste (Tokyo’s) woman flesh again.

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About the author

Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.

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