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Cannibal killer is walking free and making a living off his crime

Tom Wood

| Last updated 

Cannibal killer is walking free and making a living off his crime

A Japanese man who murdered and ate a woman is free to walk the streets of his homeland without any restrictions.

Oh, and he’s even said that he does daydream about eating someone else before he dies himself.

So, if you live in the greater Tokyo area, there’s a chance that you’ll have found yourself sharing the same air as someone who shot dead then cut up and ate parts of a poor woman called Renée Hartevelt back in 1981.

His name is Issei Sagawa, and at the time of his crime he’d dreamt of killing a woman for his whole life.


Born in 1949, he admits that he’d thought about eating human flesh since childhood.

Issei Sagawa. Credit: Keystone Press/Alamy Stock Photo
Issei Sagawa. Credit: Keystone Press/Alamy Stock Photo

He explained: “It’s simply a fetish,

“For example, if a normal man fancied a girl, he’d naturally feel a desire to see her as often as possible, to be close to her, to smell her and kiss her, right?


“To me, eating is just an extension of that.

“Frankly, I can’t fathom why everyone doesn’t feel this urge to eat, to consume, other people.”

Well, there’s a good few reasons, actually.

However, in 1981 whilst studying abroad in Paris, he finally got the chance to act out his dark fantasy, choosing Dutch student Hartevelt as his unfortunate victim.


After gaining her trust and inviting her to dinner, he shot her in the neck.

Sagawa is still free, thanks to a legal loophole. Credit: Everett Press Inc./Alamy Stock Photo
Sagawa is still free, thanks to a legal loophole. Credit: Everett Press Inc./Alamy Stock Photo

Sagawa said: “I thought about calling an ambulance,

“But then I thought, ‘Hang on, don’t be stupid. You’ve been dreaming about this for 32 years and now it’s actually happening!'”


So, he raped her corpse and started cutting her up.

He explained: “The first thing I did was cut into her buttock. No matter how deep I cut, all I saw was the fat beneath the skin. It looked like corn, and it took a while to actually reach the red meat.

“The moment I saw the meat, I tore a chunk off with my fingers and threw it into my mouth. It was truly a historical moment for me.”

He only had one regret following that, which was not eating her 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.”

Obviously, as he tried to dispose of the corpse in a suitcase, he was discovered and arrested for murder.

He never faced trial as he was declared insane and therefore unfit to stand, which saw him extradited home to Japan and stuck in a mental hospital.

However, a loophole meant that because charges were officially dropped in France, the court documents were never released to the authorities in his homeland.

Therefore there was no case against him, and he walks free to this day.

Now, he lives in Tokyo and still dreams of eating people.

“The desire to eat people becomes so intense around June when women start wearing less and showing more skin,” he added.

“Just today, I saw a girl with a really nice derrière on my way to the train station.

“When I see things like that, I think about wanting to eat someone again before I die.”

He killed and ate Renée Hartevelt.
He killed and ate Renée Hartevelt.

“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,

“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 some cooking ideas.

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

Since his release, he has become something of a minor celebrity, writing more than 20 books and drawing pictures, even starring in some softcore adult movies.

Of his latest book Extremely Intimate Fantasies of Beautiful Girls, he said: “I hope that people who read it will at least stop thinking of me as a monster.”

Good luck with that one, mate.

Featured Image Credit: Vice

Topics: Weird, World News, Crime

Tom Wood
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