Issei Sagawa: the “Japanese cannibal” died at the age of 73


Issei Sagawa, better known by his macabre (and somewhat problematic) nickname of “Japanese cannibal” died on November 24 at the age of 73, following pneumonia. He made himself known in 1981, when he was a student in Paris. He had killed, raped and eaten a 24-year-old Dutch girl, who was then taking a master’s degree in comparative literature at the Sorbonne, just like him.

His funeral has already taken place, in Japan and in a small committee. The young man was 31 years old at the time of the events. But his cannibalistic “urges” would still have been there, and would not have dissipated afterwards either… He had killed his victim with a rifle shot, before skinning her and cooking some of her remains which he would have consumed, as reported by Orange news.

Not having a freezer to preserve the remains of his victim and fearing that an overly strong smell of decomposition would make him discover him, Issei Sagawa cut up the corpse and concealed it in two suitcases, which he took to the Bois de Boulogne in taxi, where he loads them into a shopping cart. As he passes a couple of walkers, the suitcases fall and partly open. Intrigued walkers approach to ask him questions, and the killer flees.

The couple, horrified, then call the police after having understood the nature of the contents of the suitcase. Issei Sagawa will be arrested shortly after, thanks to the testimony of his taxi driver. The cannibal killer will then be faced with the consequences of his actions…

Once arrested, Issei Sagawa claims the facts and explains that it is for him “an artistic act”. He will be the subject of a year-long psychiatric expertise, and carried out by three different psychologists, who are struggling to agree on a verdict.

The experts nevertheless end up concluding that Issei is not criminally responsible, and then recommend his internment in the face of the danger he poses. He was then interned for a year in a unit for difficult patients in Villejuif. After this year, he is transferred to another psychiatric hospital, this time in Japan. He was released on August 13, 1985.

After his release, he attempts to find work as a teacher, but loses his job once his identity is discovered by the students. Then begins his celebrity life.

The post-crime is almost the most serious in this whole story. Once released from internment, Issei Sagawa became extremely well known, in his native Japan, in France, but also throughout the world. He then began to write countless books about himself and his crime. What’s more, successful books…

The height of bad taste: he begins to appear in commercials for restaurants serving mainly meat… He also lands a role in an erotic film in which his character is staged alongside a young Dutch girl.