The Issei Sagawa Story

The Issei Sagawa Story

This article will be covering the rather twisted Issei Sagawa story – a modern day cannibal incident that I’ve put off including on this site, time and time again…

Anyway, today’s the day (apparently)…

Let’s see how a twisted murdering cannibal actually ended up becoming a celebrity in his home country…

Renée Hartevelt

Sagawa first met up with Renée Hartevelt in the Sorbonne Academy/university in Paris in 1981. Sagawa was originally from Japan but he was concluding his studies in Comparative Literature in France.

Sagawa was not what you’d call a ‘Brad Pitt’…and he knew that – he was just over 5 foot tall and he walked with a kind of limp. This didn’t seem to put him off, as he was well known for chasing after tall white women.

Renée Hartevelt

For some reason, Renée Hartevelt took a liking to Sagawa – maybe it was pity? Maybe she was impressed with his academic knowledge?

We don’t really know why – and now we never will!

Friends close to Renée claimed she was not interested in a relationship with Sagawa, she was only interested in teaching him the German language.

After a few months of friendship, Sagawa invited Renée Hartevelt to his apartment to study for the night…

Meal Time

When Renée was setting up a tape recorder and microphone that night, Sagawa pulled out his hidden rifle and shot her from close range, in the back of her neck. Sagawa then fainted.

When he came to, he realized he could fulfill one of his twisted fantasies – he wanted to prove his love by consuming her, and hoped to absorb some of her energy.

He stripped her naked and had sex with her dead body.

He then proceeded to feed himself on her right buttock, then move onto various other parts of her body. To cut a long, and rather gruesome story short – he eventually cut her up with an electric knife.

issei sagawa victim

He then stored his favorite parts of her in his fridge and ice box. He would spend the next few days adding her to various meals.

He later admitted that he would listen to tape recordings of her poetry when he ate her, and used parts of her clothing as napkins for the meals.

After a time, the remainder of her corpse began to smell, and Sagawa realized that he needed to get rid of it…


He eventually dismembered the corpse and placed the pieces into two suitcases, before calling a taxi.

He was dropped off at Bois de Boulogne – he had the idea of ditching the cut up corpse in the local lakes and ponds in the area. However, people began to stare when they spotted a tiny man struggling along with two bloody suitcases.

He dropped the cases and ran off in a panic.

The police were called, and they traced the cases back to Sagawa, who surrendered willingly.

Issei Sagawa

Sagawa spent two years in a French prison before the authorities figured he was too crazy to stand trial…so he ended up in a French Psychiatric Institution.

During this time he had become a rather famous celebrity back home…so the French decided to get rid of the crazy freak and send him back to Japan.

issei sagawa crime scene

A massive f##k up between the Japanese and French authorities meant that he could not stand trial in Japan…so he was a free man after spending little under 5 years incarcerated.

He began to tour the country, making good money, and even released a few books.

Today his celebrity status has diminished, and he cannot find a job…

Let’s be honest – who would hire a complete head-case like that?

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Issei Sagawa story, please leave them in the comment section below.

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