>So many people have emailed me now saying that they want to know more about the image in this post, of the suitcase with the leg in it, that I feel obligated to tell a story now. This is a true story, and I will include links to more information for you, so you can find out more if you like.
If you don’t want to read anything too gory or blunt, skip this post, but if you’re interested in the whole story just read more…
Issei Sagawa was a Japanese man, who was studying at Censier Institute in Paris. There he met a young woman named Renee Hartevelt, with whom he became friendly.
On June 11, 1981, she went to visit him at his home. He gave her some whiskey in a cup of tea, and made it clear that he was interested in her. She rebuffed him. As she was reading, he shot her in the back of the head with a .22 caliber rifle. Sagawa said “I was surprised how quiet she was, and tried to clean up the blood but gave up.”
He disrobed her, cut off part of her left breast and a piece of her nose, and ate them. He chewed off a piece of her buttock and ate it. He said “[It] melted in my mouth like raw tuna in a sushi restaurant.”
He photographed her corpse, had sex with it, and cut it up into slices. For the next day he snuggled up to her and ate parts of her body, until the flies arrived. Then he cut her body into smaller pieces and packed her into a suitcase set, and called a cab. He left the suitcases in a park and returned home, and continued to eat the slices he had saved for the next day, until he was arrested.
Now the story gets really interesting.
He was arrested in France, and sentenced to a mental health facility. His father, a prominent and quite rich man, arranged for Issei to be transferred to the Matsuzawa psychiatric hospital in Japan instead.
This was done, and when Issei arrived he was pronounced sane and released. Issei Sagawa, being rich, was able to walk free within less than five years of killing, raping, and dismembering and eating a young woman. He was able also to obtain a passport from Japan and travel to Germany and other places.
He is currently a kind of macabre celebrity in Japan. He has appeared on talk shows, in porn, and has written several (fairly crappy) films, one of which discusses his feelings about the murder. He brags openly about having enjoyed eating Renee. He has also been interviewed for several magazines. For a while he had a personal site up containing his statement about the crime, but it has since disappeared. He occasionally produces paintings for sale as well.
Issei’s statement about his crime:
I am amazed. She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Tall, blonde, with pure white skin, she astonishes me with her grace. I invited her to my home for a Japanese dinner. She accepts. After the meal I asked her to read my favorite German Expressionist poem. As she reads i can’t keep my eyes off her. After she leaves I can still smell her body on the bed sheet where she sat reading the poem. I lick the chopsticks and dishes she used. I can taste her lips. My passion is so great. I want to eat her. If I do she will be mine forever. There is no escape from this desire. I arrange for her to read the poem for me once more. I lie to her. I tell her I want to record the poem on tape for my Japanese teacher. She believes. I prepare everything. The cassette recorder for the poem, the rifle for the sacrifice. She arrives on time. After drinking tea and whisky, she speaks. She smiles at me. But I know inside that I’m the strangest one of all. Her yellow sleeveless top shows off her beautiful white arms. I can smell her body.
I turn on the recorder. She starts to read . She speaks in perfect German. I reach for the rifle hidden beside the chest of drawers. I stand slowly and aim the riffle at the back of her head. I cannot stop myself. There is a loud sound and her body falls from the chair onto the floor. It is like she is watching me. I see her cheeks, her eyes, her nose and mouth, the blood pouring from her head. I try to talk to her, but she no longer answers. There is blood all over the floor. I try to wipe it up, but I realize I cannot stop the flow of blood from her head. It is very quiet here. There is only the silence of death.
I start to take off her clothes. It is hard to take the clothes off a dead body. Finally it is done. Her beautiful white body is before me. I’ve waited so long this day and now it is here. I touch her ass. It is so very smooth. I wonder where I should bite first. I decide to bite the top of her butt. My nose is covered with her cold white skin. I try to beat down hard, but I can’t. I suddenly have a horrible headache. I get a knife from the kitchen and stab it deeply into her skin. Suddenly a lot of sallow fat oozes from the wound. It reminds me of Indian corn. It continues to ooze. It is strange. Finally I find the red meat under the sallow fat. I scoop it out and put it in my mouth. I chew. It has no smell and no taste. It melts in my mouth like a perfect piece of tuna. I look in her eyes and say: You are delicious.
I cut her body and lift the meat to my mouth again and again. Then I take a photograph of her white corpse with its deep wounds. I have sex with her body. When I hug her she lets out a breath. I’m frightened, she seems alive. I kiss her and tell her I love her. Then I drag her body to the bathroom. By now I am exhausted, but I cut into her hip and put the meat in a roasting pan. After it is cooked I sit at the table using her underwear as a napkin. They still smell of her body.
Then I turn on the tape of her reading the German poem and eat. There is not enough taste. I use some salt and some mustard and it is delicious, very high quality meat. Then I go back to the bathroom and cut off her breast and bake it. It swells while it cooks. I serve the breast on the table and eat it with a fork and knife. It isn’t very good. Too greasy. I try to cut into another part of her body. Her thighs were wonderful. Finally she is in my stomach. Finally she is in my stomach. Finally she is mine. It is the best dinner I’ve ever had. Afterwards I sleep with her.Next morning she is still here. She doesn’t smell bad. Today I must finish cutting up her body. I have to put it into suitcases and sink it in the lake. It will be her grave. I touch the cold body again and I wonder where I should start. I start to cut off all the meat before amputating the limbs. While I cut her calf I suddenly want to taste it. I see the beautiful red meat beneath the fat. I grasp her knee and her ankle, and tear it with my teeth. It istender. I slowly chew and savor it. After eating most of the calf I look at myself in the mirror. There is grease all over my face. And then I start to eat at random. I bite her little toe. It still smell of her feet. I stab the knife into her arch and see the red meat deep inside. I thrust my fingers inside and dig out the meat and put it in my mouth. It tastes okay. Then I stab the knife into her armpit. Ever since I saw it under her yellow sleeveless top I wondered how it would taste this good.
The wonderful taste cheers me up and I devour her underarm up to the elbow. Finally I cut off her private parts. When I touch the pubic hair it has a very bad smell. I bite her clit, but it won’t come off, it just stretches. So I throw it in the frying pan and pop it in my mouth. I chew very carefully and swallow it. It is so sweet. After I swallow it, I feel her in my body and get hot. I turn the body over and open her buttocks, revealing her anus. I scoop it out with my knife and try to put it in my mouth. It smells too much. I put it in the frying pan and throw it in my mouth. It still smells. I spit it out. I go into the next room. It smell of fat, like I’ve been frying a chicken.
It’s been twenty-four hours now. Some huge flies hover and buzz in the bathroom. I try to chase them away, but they came back. They swarm on her face. They seem to tell me that I’ve lost her forever. It is no longer her. Where is she? She’s gone far away. I’ve broken her. Like a child who breaks his toy. I try to use an electric knife to cut her body. It doesn’t work. It just makes a loud sound. I use a hatchet. I strike several times. It’s hard work. I strike her thigh. Her body jumps up. If she could feel, it would have hurt.
Finally the thigh separates from her body. I bite it again, like I would bite a chicken leg. Then I cut off her arms. It is even harder than the thigh. I use the electric knife again. It makes a shrill sound, like the sound of her shrill voice. It works this time. Her hand still wears a ring and a bracelet. When I see her long fingers I am driven by another impulse. I use her hand to masturbate. Her long fingers excite me. When I’m finished I try to bite her finger. I can’t. I’m disappointed. I put her hands into the plastic bag along with her legs. And then I see her face. It is still quiet. She has a small nose and a sweet lower lip. When she was alive I wanted to bite them. Now I can satisfy that desire. It’s so easy to bite off her nose. As I chew the cartilage I can hear the noise. I use a knife to cut off more of the cartilage and put it in my mouth. It really doesn’t taste very good. I scoop out her lower lip with my knife and put it in my mouth. It has hard skin. I decide to eat it later when I can fry it. So I put it in the refrigerator.I want her tongue. I can’t open her lower jaw, but I can reach in between her teeth. Finally it comes out. I cut it off and put it in my mouth. It’s hard to chew. I see my face in the mirror. Her tongue entwined with my tongue. I try to close my mouth, but her tongue slips out. Finally I cut the skin off the tongue and taste the meat. I try to eat her eyes. It’s hard for me to stab into them, though it is the easiest part of her face. I can tears coming from them. It frightens me. Her eyes are all that is left of her face. It is nearly a skull.
I decide to take out her stomach. When I stab under her navel a little fat appears and then I can see the red meat under the fat. I slice a piece of the red meat and put it on a plate. Then I stab into the stomach. The internal organs appear. There is a great length of rolled tubes and I find a gray bag at the end of the tubes. It must be the bladder. There is a strong smell as soon as I pick it up. I thrust my hand into her body cavity. There is another bag. It must be her womb. If she had lived she would have had a baby in this womb. The thought depresses me for a moment.I pull out the intestines. My hands sting from the digestive juices. At last I have to cut off her head. It is the most difficult thing I have to do. I cut off the meat on her neck until I can see bone, then I cut again. She still wears her necklace. I try to use the electric knife, but it doesn’t work very well. It just makes its shrill sound. So I use the hatchet. I imagine myself on the guillotine. It is surprisingly easy to cut through. With the head gone her body is now only flesh. When I grab the hair and hang up the head, I realize I am a cannibal. I put the head in a plastic bag. I separate the body and put it into two plastic bags. They are heavy. It is hard to put them into the suitcases. I am finished. It is midnight. I call a taxi.I am back home. I turn the TV and open the refrigerator. I put the dishes on the glass table. I recognize each pieces of meat. This is part of her hip and this is part of her thigh. I fry them on the stove. I set the table. There is mustard, salt, pepper and sauce. I put her underwear beside the dish. I sniff it and look at a nude woman in a magazine. I try to remember which part of her is in my mouth, but it is difficult to connect the meat with a body. It just seems like a piece of meat. I continue to eat her body until I am caught. Each day the meat becomes more tender, each day the taste is more sweet and delicious.
There you have it. The story of Issei Sagawa.