Issei Sagawa, the infamous Japanese cannibal who killed, raped and ate a woman’s flesh in 1981, died at the age of 73.
Sagawa, also known as the “Kobe Cannibal,” passed away of pneumonia at a hospital in Tokyo on Nov. 24. The cannibal, who then attended the University of Sorbonne in Paris as a PhD student in comparative literature, is known for admitting to shooting his Dutch classmate, Renée Hartevelt, in the neck, raping her and eating parts of her body over the course of three days.
Several days later, he confessed his crimes to police after Hartevelt’s remains were found in two suitcases in a lake at the Bois de Boulogne park.
“Nobody believes me, but my ultimate intention was to eat her, not necessarily to kill her,” Sagawa told Vice in 2009.
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Sagawa never served a prison sentence, as a mental evaluation in France ruled him legally insane and unfit to stand trial. He was deported to Japan, where he was sent to a psychiatric hospital. However, Japanese authorities declared him sane and said that he murdered Hartevelt out of sexual perversion.
He was able to walk free as authorities were unable to obtain sealed court documents from France.
Following his return, Sagawa became a celebrity for his notoriety. He became a writer and wrote a memoir titled “Kiri No Naka (In the Fog),” detailing his murder and cannibalism of Hartevelt.
Sagawa also starred in several pornographic films and sold paintings of naked women.
In 2017, Sagawa recounted details of the murder and his obsession with cannibalism in a documentary called “Caniba.”
According to his family, Sagawa, who had been living with his brother in Tokyo, had a stroke in 2013 and had been recovering in recent years.