Issei Sagawa was born on June 11, 1949 in Kobe, Japan. When he was of age, his parents sent him to Sorbonne University in Paris to study modern literature.
While in Paris, Sagawa found a liking for tall, European women. These women were typically much taller than he, who stood at a mere 5 feet. In 1981, he met a young, beautiful, Dutch student named Renee Hartevelt. Although Hartevelt was not initially attracted to Sagawa, she did agree to go on a few dates with him.
As time went on, Sagawa’s fantasies grew like any man dating an attractive woman. His fantasies were different. His biggest fantasy was the one about eating Renee. One day while in his apartment, Sagawa shot Renee in the neck while she was reading him a German poem. He claims to have fainted immediately after shooting Renee, but awoke and realized that he had to carry out the deed.
After having sex with the corpse, he chopped up the body and began eating the hips and legs. Sagawa feasted on the body parts for two days. When the decomposing body began to smell, he stuffed the left over pieces into two suitcases and planned to dump them in a pond. When he realized that he was not alone by the pond, he left the suitcases and ran.
French police caught on to Sagawa. He was arrested and held for only 15 months. He was then extradited to Japan, where he became the most popular man in the country. Sagawa was constantly being asked to appear on TV shows to tell his story of eating human flesh. Issei Sagawa went on to write four books, one of which explains in gruesome detail the process of eating Renee Hartevelt.