Japanese man who killed, raped and ate woman in 1981, dies at age of 73


Japanese man who killed, raped and ate woman in 1981, dies at age of 73

A Japanese man, Issei Sagawa, who also goes by the name “Kobe Cannibal” died in Japan at the age of 73.  The man, who allegedly killed a Dutch student after raping and eating her body was never jailed for conducting the spine-chilling crime.


Sagawa reportedly died of pneumonia on November 24 and was given a private funeral attended by close relatives. His brother and a friend, however, said that no public ceremony is planned as of now.


The horrendous crime took place in 1981, when Sagawa, studying in Paris invited Dutch student, Renee Hartevelt to his home. He then shot her on the neck, raped and killed her.


Later, in the next few days, he consumed some of her body parts while attempting to dispose off the rest in the Bois de Boulogne park. He was later arrested and confessed his crime to the police. 


However, in 1983, because he was deemed unfit for trial by French medical experts, he was initially held in a psychiatric institution before being deported to Japan in 1984.


The victim’s family pledged to get the criminal prosecuted in Japan so that “the murderer would never go free.” He was ruled sane by Japanese authorities on his arrival to Japan. Authorities called him having a "character anomaly" which did not require hospitalisation. However, Japanese authorities were unable to get his case files from their French counterparts, who considered the case closed, leaving the murderer to walk free.


Sagawa made no secret of his crime and capitalised on his notoriety. This included a novel-like memoir titled "In the Fog" in which he reminisced about the murder in vivid detail. The murder was also the subject of Japanese novelist Juro Kara's "Letter from Sagawa-kun", which won the country's most prestigious literary prize in 1982.


Despite the heinous details of the murder, he showed no sign of remorse or reform. Sagawa gained a level of celebrity and regularly gave interviews to domestic and international media in the years after his return. He was featured in a magazine for his paintings of naked women, appeared in a pornographic movie and produced a manga comic book that depicted his crime in graphic and unrelenting detail.


Sagawa lived out his final years with his brother, reportedly in a wheelchair after a series of health problems including a stroke. He told Vice in a 2013 interview as he looked at posters of Japanese women: "I think they would taste delicious".


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