Interview With The Cannibal
December 21, 2010 10:48 AM   Subscribe

(NSFW) In the 1980's, a brilliant university student named Issei Sagawa went ahead and killed and, uhm, ate one of his fellow classmates. VBS TV interviews Issei Sagawa, who became a celebrity in Japan after walking free, having been deemed "sane, but evil" by a team of psychologists in France. "Was Sagawa suffering from a mental disorder? Was he really a sexual psychopath? Probably both. By his own admission, Issei Sagawa says that he had to possess a caucasian woman completely, and the only way this overwhelming need could be truly satisfied was by eating her."

The top link directs to a video interview with Issei Sagawa done by VBS TV, an online broadcast network that streams free original content 24 hours a day.
posted by fantodstic (107 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let me be the first to say that I've felt this way myself.
posted by sfts2 at 10:53 AM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


Happy holidays, everybody.
posted by jbickers at 10:55 AM on December 21, 2010 [31 favorites]


having been deemed "sane, but evil" by a team of psychologists in France.

OOPs, that's a mistake. It was a team of doctors in Japan, not France.
posted by fantodstic at 10:56 AM on December 21, 2010


after walking free, having been deemed "sane, but evil"

'Whelp, he's not mentally ill, so there's no reason to lock him in a tiny room for the rest of his life!'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:58 AM on December 21, 2010 [18 favorites]


Why does this creep get his pitcher taken eating noodles, and the girl he....ugh...seem to be an afterthought?
posted by notsnot at 10:58 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


OOPs, that's a mistake. It was a team of doctors in Japan, not France.

But the "sane, but evil" diagnosis is still correct, right? Oh, good.
posted by bondcliff at 10:58 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do they give you a commemorative plaque or something when you are diagnosed Sane, But Evil? Because I'd like to get one for the den.
posted by Babblesort at 10:58 AM on December 21, 2010 [21 favorites]


I recommend not doing an image search on the victim's name. The first results include crime scene photographs of her body.
posted by zippy at 10:59 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


having been deemed "sane, but evil" by a team of psychologists in France.

Oh, so, Fantômas, then.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:03 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


From Wikipedia:

Upon arrival in Japan, he was immediately taken to Matsuzawa hospital, where examining psychologists all found him to be sane but "evil".[1] However, Japanese authorities found it to be legally impossible to hold him, purportedly because they lacked certain important papers from the French court.

OK, that makes a lot more sense. Because otherwise "sane, but evil" seems like the exact case where you'd lock somebody up rather than letting them go free.

He has also written restaurant reviews for the Japanese magazine Spa.

:(
posted by kmz at 11:05 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


He killed her, and then had sex with the corpse, and then ate her.

And then we was deemed "sane but evil".

It's a crazy weird planet we live in right now guys!
posted by fantodstic at 11:05 AM on December 21, 2010


I kinda want to go to Japan to punch this guy in the head repeatedly.
posted by tunewell at 11:06 AM on December 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


She was selected because of her health and beauty, those characteristics Sagawa believed he lacked. Sagawa describes himself as a "weak, ugly, and small man" (he is just under 5 ft (1.52 m) tall[2]) and claims that he wanted to "absorb her energy".[3]

Textbook sane-but-evil.
posted by DU at 11:10 AM on December 21, 2010 [20 favorites]


...Sagawa checked himself out of the mental institution on August 12, 1986, and has been a free man ever since.

1) Good work on that paperwork guys. Aaaaany day now he'll be back behind bars.

2) How has he not done anything sane-but-evil since? Maybe he really did absorb her energy?
posted by DU at 11:13 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


First dead baby reindeer, and now extreme cannibalism. The Awesome Post contest has certainly taken an unexpected turn....
posted by schmod at 11:14 AM on December 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


This interview has the above-mentioned extraordinarily NSFW photos in it, but seems to bear out the sane, but evil diagnosis well.

This must sound rich coming from me, but the moment the girl became a corpse, I realized that I had lost an important friend and even regretted killing her for a moment. What I truly wished was to eat her living flesh. Nobody believes me, but my ultimate intention was to eat her, not necessarily to kill her. To this day, I still think, “If only she had let me taste her, just a little bit…” If we had spent another evening having dinner and chatting about our families, I never would have been able to kill her. In other words, I can’t project my fantasies onto somebody who is already personified in my mind. That’s why my first candidates were all prostitutes. I had a lot of other female friends as well, but I would never have dreamed of eating them since I considered them human beings with their own individual personalities. People tell me that I killed her because I loved her, but why would I kill and eat someone who I truly loved?
posted by cmoj at 11:14 AM on December 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Beautiful story, isn't it?
posted by theredpen at 11:14 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


'Hey, buddy, what are you in for?'

'The court determined that I'm evil.'

'...'
posted by shakespeherian at 11:14 AM on December 21, 2010


The prospect of being declared "sane but evil" is exactly the sort of thing that gives mad scientists the heebie jeebies.
posted by ardgedee at 11:15 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Forget all the schoolgirl-bondage-tentacle-hentai-whatever.

This guy being free and a celebrity in Japan is all the "WHAT THE FUCK JAPAN????" anybody needs.
posted by edheil at 11:15 AM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


This guy being free and a celebrity in Japan is all the "WHAT THE FUCK JAPAN????" anybody needs.

Bush/Cheney I rest my case.
posted by DU at 11:17 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


This guy being free and a celebrity in Japan is all the "WHAT THE FUCK JAPAN????" anybody needs.

Bush/Cheney I rest my case.


Beaten to the punch. Also, Nixon. And Clinton.
posted by fantodstic at 11:23 AM on December 21, 2010


And Delta Burke as a blonde.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:24 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the record, Sagawa's victim's name was Renée Hartevelt.
posted by Gelatin at 11:25 AM on December 21, 2010 [14 favorites]


I recommend not doing an image search on the victim's name.

And ... you're right.

Gosh, there's just so much to unpack here, if you'll excuse the expression. A seeming sexual pathology informed by race and gender, the cannibal complex, in which he sought to absorb from her the qualities he thought he was lacking (health and beauty; he saw himself as a "weak, ugly, and small man"). Additionally, there is the bizarre legal complications which rendered him a free man, and then a celebrity in Japan. You might have already heard of him -- his crime was the basis for The Rolling Stones' song "Too Much Blood," which is obvious in the lyrics. If you're a Stranglers fan, he inspired "La Folie." He actually has written restaurant reviews for the magazine Spa and appeared as a cameo guest on television and in films.

As for his victim, Renée Hartevelt? There's not much about her online, at least not English. She was attractive and independent and, from the sound of things, kind. She agreed to teach Sagawa German, and was reading him a German poem when he shot her in the head.

I can understand the curiosity with Sagawa -- I share it, and I don't begrudge the fascination. But I think it is useful to temper it with a sense that these things are not abstract. We do not hear of Hartevelts family. I cannot imagine what all this is like for them. I lived next door to a family whose son was murdered in a terrible and lonely way, and they were utterly haunted by him, with every room in their house bearing his photo.

John Waters has a book out now called Role Models, in which he discusses his interest in crime, and it's quite something to read, because he discusses how abstract it all seemed to him when he was younger, to the point where he often used it as a punchline, and enjoyed the shocked reactions of people who discovered he went to trials and wrote letters to criminals. He had paintings by John Wayne Gacy, as I recall it. But eventually he started teaching in prison, and he became longtime friends with Leslie Van Houten, who was among the Manson killers, and it deepened his respect for the real horror of the act -- Van Houten, in particular, is tortured by remorse, and couldn't be more fully rehabilitated, but seems unlikely every to be released. He has put away his Gacy paintings and now feels it was insensitive for him to simply treat real murders as punch lines. It's an interesting read, especially as he hasn't given up his interest in the subject -- he just approaches it with a hard-won respect.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2010 [82 favorites]


Worst alignment ever.
posted by Bromius at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


"maybe if we'd had dinner once more, I wouldn't have eaten her."

.
men.
posted by eustatic at 11:29 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I hope he wins Ninja Warrior.
posted by LordSludge at 11:29 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


. . . The Aristocrats!
posted by brain_drain at 11:30 AM on December 21, 2010 [14 favorites]


MeTa
posted by zarq at 11:33 AM on December 21, 2010


I kinda want to go to Japan to punch this guy in the head repeatedly.

If you watch the documentary he states that this is akin to his new fantasy, as long as by punch you mean "slowly destroy".

Yes, I watched the documentary. Yes, I found it unsettling.
posted by ob at 11:34 AM on December 21, 2010


oh god
posted by clavdivs at 11:34 AM on December 21, 2010


My memory of this case is that it was less about "bizarre legal complications" and more about well-connected family members and non-Japanese victim. But my recall may be less than perfect, and I have no desire to re-read any of this story.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:36 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


First dead baby reindeer, and now extreme cannibalism.

I know! If only we started off with softcore cannibalism to ease us into the mood, right?
posted by yeloson at 11:37 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Last year on New Year's Eve I happened to turn on a show on the History Channel where they were discussing cannibalism and they interviewed this jerk.

It was, as it turns out, a terrible topic to bring up that night over drinks.
posted by jenlovesponies at 11:38 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Finally, something to tear me away for the dead reindeer discussion.
posted by marxchivist at 11:39 AM on December 21, 2010


This guy being free and a celebrity in Japan is all the "WHAT THE FUCK JAPAN????" anybody needs.

So is his act more disturbing or is the subsequent edification of it by the mass media of another culture that really gets our goat?

Though it's not like we don't have tales of gruesome murdering here in the States. The Donner party did it out of 'necessity'; it's a morbid tale of manifest destiny gone wrong but I've only ever heard of it told pityingly. John Wayne Gacy, while not a hero, certainly plays the role of urban boogeyman, celebrated in folk songs and movie depictions galore. The fact that Wikipedia has a list of serial killers by victim is in itself a scoreboard of celebrity.

In a similar vein, how many documentaries do we have on Charles Manson? Is it the exacting morbidity of Dexter, the precision and forensic descriptiveness of his murders made all the better by the fact that he's killing the 'bad guys'? Without that embedded moral compass, aren't we just mentally jerking it off to a serial killer? Who's the more interesting character in Psycho? Or any of the movies that feature serial killers? Hell, why do people even watch Saw anymore?

So I think I can understand the public media fascination with Issei Sagawa and I can understand the dark humor of inviting him to be a food critic. There's something uncanny about their way of understanding society and the fact that we sometimes endorse dark fantasies of our own makes all of this hit a little too close to home.
posted by dubusadus at 11:40 AM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


It was, as it turns out, a terrible topic to bring up that night over drinks.

I'm having trouble imagining any scenario where bringing this up would improve the conversation.

Except mefi of course.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:40 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I recommend not doing an image search on the victim's name.

I hasten to add that I don't mention Renée Hartevelt's name to facilitate such a search, but because it vexes me that Sagawa's fame contrasts with the anonymity of his innocent victim.
posted by Gelatin at 11:43 AM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Just the other night I was watching the episode of The IT Crowd which parodied Armin Meiwes, and a few weeks before that, I was watching the episode of South Park where Bundy, Dahmer, and Gacey are the Three Stooges. People find serial killers interesting and funny.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:46 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can do pretty much anything if you know the right people and pick the right victim.
posted by aramaic at 11:47 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I kinda want to go to Japan to punch this guy in the head repeatedly.

Careful, we just had a thread about that.
posted by verb at 11:47 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can do pretty much anything if you know the right people and pick the right victim.

Being super wealthy also helps.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:48 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The equities of the situation are some well-intentioned if perhaps naive dutch girl had to pay with her life for this person to get the celebrity and attention he now enjoys. Society is not mature enough to understand this apparently. Also I find the racial aspect significant: would the perpetrator still be a free man in Japan if the victim was Japanese?
posted by norabarnacl3 at 11:50 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


It was, as it turns out, a terrible topic to bring up that night over drinks.

I'm having trouble imagining any scenario where bringing this up would improve the conversation


I asked a vegan if she would eat human flesh if the person consented to be eaten as in that crazy german internet cannibal case. Went better than expected.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:51 AM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that info, Astro Zombie. I've always been angry at people who think it's cute or cool to write to serial killers or buy John Wayne Gacy paintings or the like (I think that Johnny Depp has bought at least one Gacy painting; no idea whether or not he still has it). I lived in Chicago at the time that Gacy was still killing boys the same age as me, and while it wasn't likely that we'd cross paths (Chicago is, after all, a really big city), it wasn't out of the realm of possibility either.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:51 AM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm only semi-caucasian; I wouldn't have been eaten nearly as thoroughly.

White privilege, yeah right!
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:56 AM on December 21, 2010


Actually, what's most interesting about the documentary is how pathetic he seems.
posted by ob at 12:00 PM on December 21, 2010


Perhaps if we referred to murderers as something like "Renée Hartevelt's killer" instead of their names or nicknames, we'd keep their crimes at the forefront and reduce their celebrity status.

Hard to do with serial killers, though; still I wish we all knew the names of the victims as well as we do those of the killers'. I wish we'd stop feeding our "fascination" with murderers, because it gives me the uneasy feeling that it makes it more likely for new, celebrity-craving sickos to give it a go.
posted by emjaybee at 12:01 PM on December 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


Absorbing someone or something's essense or power by ingesting them seems like a common thread throughout humanity. I was really shocked at how casually cannibalism was discussed in the "Vice Guide to Liberia". Ignoring how questionable Shane Smith is, almost everyone he came in contact with admitted to having eaten human flesh in order to gain power. They were so up front about it that I prefer to think it is all bullshit, that they were spinning tales to go along with their badass image. I can't imagine that eating someone to absorb their essense is something you can ever come back from so I guess like everyone else here i question the "Sane but Evil" diagnosis. Just because you are introspective about your own insanity doesn't make you sane.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:11 PM on December 21, 2010


The style of that New Criminologist piece is disturbingly pulpy for a "prestigious and world-renowned journal" written by professionals.
posted by The Mouthchew at 12:17 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think he was deemed sane because he understood what he did was wrong, but was okay with doing it anyway. As I understand, the idea of criminal insanity is pretty much a legal fiction (at least in the U.S.; I don't know how it works in France or Japan) that's used to determine sentencing, but is not the sort of thing that is especially valuable diagnostically when actually dealing with various sorts of evil behavior.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:23 PM on December 21, 2010


I don't understand how a guy who shot a woman dead and then proceeds to bite into her and cut her with a fruit knife can claim to be "scared of blood."

Also, the creepy little fucker seems to be getting his jollies these days from telling and reliving the stories again.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:32 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Absorbing someone or something's essense or power by ingesting them seems like a common thread throughout humanity.

And on the flipside, the horror of being eaten.
posted by heatvision at 12:33 PM on December 21, 2010


He was declared insane and unfit to stand trial at the time of his arrest, yes? Since he is now "sane", why isn't he re-arrested? Why isn't this fuckwad extradited back to France?
posted by notsnot at 12:35 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


No thanks.
posted by pianomover at 12:38 PM on December 21, 2010


I have been certified "insane, but a really nice guy" by noted experts.
posted by briank at 12:40 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Perhaps if we referred to murderers as something like "Renée Hartevelt's killer" instead of their names or nicknames, we'd keep their crimes at the forefront and reduce their celebrity status.

I feel this way sometimes, but I'm not sure how to balance it against the concern of parading the victim's name around on tabloid covers and 60 Minutes broadcasts and etc. I'm not sure what a good solution is, but I'm uncomfortable both with celebrity killers and celebrity victims (although for different reasons).
posted by shakespeherian at 12:42 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


After reading this, I feel like punching myself in the head repeatedly.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:52 PM on December 21, 2010




Perhaps if we referred to murderers as something like "Renée Hartevelt's killer" instead of their names or nicknames, we'd keep their crimes at the forefront and reduce their celebrity status.


I've long been horrified and disgusted by the pedestals North American media gives serial killers. (The rest of the world may as well, but I'm North American.)

There's no excuse for romanticizing that shit or making it seem more mysterious, dark or interesting than it is. Maybe if we as a culture treated it with remorse, pity and disgust instead of making feature length films about their badass-ness we could start moving towards fixing things and addressing genuine problems.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:06 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The lead in could be an example of what I'm talking about. (No offense fantodstic, I'm not saying it was intelligent.


(NSFW) In the 1980's, a brilliant university student named Issei Sagawa went ahead and killed and, uhm, ate one of his fellow classmates


Regardless of his grades in school, perhaps brilliant was not the word you were looking for to describe the guy in this context? It implies a relationship between his academic performance and his crimes that I'm not sure would be intended or healthy.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:12 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


(No offense fantodstic, I'm not saying it was INTENTIONAL)

Sorry. I should preview. Typo, not a subconscious insult, I swear.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:12 PM on December 21, 2010


You become what you dwell on.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:19 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


This guy being free and a celebrity in Japan is all the "WHAT THE FUCK JAPAN????" anybody needs.

I just don't have the stomach to watch this right now, but if I picture this "celebrity" as being akin to The US fascination with post-murder OJ Simpson, or rockers wearing Manson T-Shirts, it's more like "WHAT THE FUCK HUMANS????"
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:19 PM on December 21, 2010


I dwell on pizza and have yet to sprout anchovies.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Take that, foodies.
posted by cestmoi15 at 1:22 PM on December 21, 2010


I'm informed by my psychologically trained friends that sane vs insane is a purely legal classification and has no diagnostic merit of its own.
posted by Skorgu at 1:29 PM on December 21, 2010


Excitable boy, they all said.
posted by raysmj at 1:39 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


You become what you dwell on.

I don't think this can really explain what happend, or what happens in the cases of serial killers. I know a fair number of people who are obsessed with very "dark" things, who religiously read accounts of murders and serial killings and human sacrifice. They have never to the best of my knowledge killed anyone or considered killing anyone. Call 'em morbid, but I think that construction collapses things to a simple, pat answer rather than offering insights into why people do horrifying things.
posted by verb at 1:52 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've long been horrified and disgusted by the pedestals North American media gives serial killers. . .

posted by Stagger Lee


Am I missing something?
posted by foursentences at 2:18 PM on December 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


He looked for help. His brother didn't believe him. He couldn't get himself to the psychiatrist's office after an initial telephone call. When he talked to another psychiatrist after stalking and entering a different woman's apartment, he was thought of as a public danger but was never charged or locked up.

If any of those times were different, her death might have been avoided. It's quite a what-if.
posted by zix at 2:19 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]




Am I missing something?


Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit myself as evidence.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:26 PM on December 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wow. Thoughts go out to Renée Hartevelt's family. Not cool at all and thanks for the thoughtful comment, AZ.
posted by yo! at 2:27 PM on December 21, 2010


I've always been angry at people who think it's cute or cool to write to serial killers or buy John Wayne Gacy paintings or the like

Sufjan Stevens made money by writing & performing a song about him.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:49 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


He was declared insane and unfit to stand trial at the time of his arrest, yes? Since he is now "sane", why isn't he re-arrested? Why isn't this fuckwad extradited back to France?

It might have something to do with a "double jeopardy" rule. In many jurisdictions, you cannot be charged with the same crime twice. So, if you're charged but found unfit to stand trial, then subsequently regain your sanity or are declared not insane, then (depending on the laws in that jurisdiction) it might mean that you cannot be charged again.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:55 PM on December 21, 2010


You can do pretty much anything if you know the right people and pick the right victim.

Being super wealthy also helps.


Oh really? Was this another "Rich (man) eats Poor (woman)"?
posted by peppito at 2:56 PM on December 21, 2010


Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit myself as evidence.

Your face is my case!
posted by mazola at 2:56 PM on December 21, 2010


Because of things like this, sometimes I hate the world.
posted by polymodus at 3:00 PM on December 21, 2010


Anyone else reminded of reading A Nameless Witch? Anyone? *crickets*
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:04 PM on December 21, 2010


Wow...the Diesel ad that appears on the page hosting the second part of the video has the tag line, "Be stupid, you'll eat better" and a picture of a guy biting the posterior (albeit jeans-clad) of a woman.
posted by BigBwana at 3:16 PM on December 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


genuinely disturbing.

brings to mind synesthesia, except that instead of having his hearing wired to his visual system, he's got his sexual instincts wired to ingestion.
posted by cogneuro at 3:18 PM on December 21, 2010


I've always been angry at people who think it's cute or cool to write to serial killers or buy John Wayne Gacy paintings or the like

Sufjan Stevens made money by writing & performing a song about him.


Responding to something as an artist doesn't equal thinking it's cute or cool.

This is a horrific story. I can't imagine what Hartevelt's family must feel, that her death has become some kind of point and giggle meme for 4chan and the like to gawk over.
posted by jokeefe at 4:00 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]



More evidence that purveyors of mental and physical health are not nearly as sharp as we think. It is my opinion that someone who shoots a person in the head and then eats them is quite insane. Period.
posted by notreally at 4:08 PM on December 21, 2010


I agree. I cannot understand any party of killed and ate that coincides with sane. Ever.
posted by Splunge at 4:35 PM on December 21, 2010


I'd like to add that it's an indictment of two legal systems (France and Japan) that this person is free.
posted by Splunge at 4:37 PM on December 21, 2010


So, I don't understand. France extradited him to Japan, and there he was set free? Why? (Full disclosure, I just read the article. I couldn't bring myself to watch the video).
posted by bluefly at 4:47 PM on December 21, 2010


To be more specific, I don't understand this legal situation:

Following an attempt to gain pertinent paper work from Judge Bruguiéres, which was refused, the Japanese legal system could not pursue Sagawa. He walked free on 12 August 1986, having been contained for just five years.

The French wouldn't turn over court documents? Were they "sealed"?
posted by bluefly at 4:51 PM on December 21, 2010


People find serial killers interesting and funny.
Perhaps some people do. This explains why I don't watch South Park.
posted by theora55 at 4:56 PM on December 21, 2010


He killed her, and then had sex with the corpse, and then ate her.

He's just an excitable boy.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:01 PM on December 21, 2010


So, I don't understand. France extradited him to Japan, and there he was set free? Why? (Full disclosure, I just read the article. I couldn't bring myself to watch the video).

Good. The video is incredibly scarring. I don't often say this, but trigger warning w/r/t the VBS video for anyone who has had fucked up things happen to them.

It seems like both the extradition and release were due to the guy's rich parents tugging some political strings, but it was never really made clear. What is clear, from the video, is that the guy is not a celebrity-- in fact, he's quite lonely, and is shunned just as much in Japan as he would be in America, morbid food magazines aside.
posted by shii at 5:18 PM on December 21, 2010


Splunge: "I agree. I cannot understand any party of killed and ate that coincides with sane. Ever"

Part dammit, not party. I do not want to be at that party.
posted by Splunge at 5:39 PM on December 21, 2010


Wow...the Diesel ad that appears on the page hosting the second part of the video has the tag line, "Be stupid, you'll eat better" and a picture of a guy biting the posterior (albeit jeans-clad) of a woman.

I just came to post the same thing. Talk about google ad fail.
For anyone who didn't want to click through to the video, the ad in question is an animated flash version of this.
posted by matt_od at 5:39 PM on December 21, 2010


The ad in the bottom right of this website is particularly ironic:

screenshot
posted by bpdavis at 5:41 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


How can anyone "brilliant" subscribe to such illogical, superstitious beliefs? I have unfortunately heard of a number of cases of cannibalism now and these criminals all have the same bizzarre logical distortion that eating someone (or something) allows one to absorb its "essence" in some way. How do people come to believe this with any knowledge of modern science, is what I want to know. Do they not understand how the body breaks down all food into the same building blocks and then re-uses them? Do they not learn this in school?

People point out that these beliefs have been held for a long time by ancient and primitive peoples, but so were all sorts of completely wrongheaded, pointless beliefs. Is it the pseudo-religious or mystical bent to cannibalism that causes people to fixate?

There are many distressing things about this case; the way the legal system handled it is certainly appalling, but what really bothers me is how anyone "sane" and "brilliant" with an education can believe this nonsense to the point of fixating on it and killing for it.

I wish he had gotten psychological help.
posted by Nixy at 6:09 PM on December 21, 2010


"Do they not learn this in school?"

You assume that schoolteachers understand the science of nutrition, much less are able to teach it. In my experience, most just spout platitudes like "you are what you eat!" Which could have some unfortunate implications if taken literally.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:25 PM on December 21, 2010


This interview has the above-mentioned extraordinarily NSFW photos in it, but seems to bear out the sane, but evil diagnosis well.

Is this the new Rickroll? I missed the memo.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:38 PM on December 21, 2010


Oh wow. This is the interview.

Whatever that switch makes my original comment mean, I don't get it.
posted by cmoj at 9:37 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


in fact, he's quite lonely, and is shunned just as much in Japan as he would be in America

I don't know if you can call it "shunning" if it's done out of self-preservation. Yikes!
posted by Jess the Mess at 10:00 PM on December 21, 2010


in fact, he's quite lonely, and is shunned just as much in Japan as he would be in America

I don't know if you can call it "shunning" if it's done out of self-preservation. Yikes!




Actually, learning about this man has made me a tiny bit more scared to visit Japan. It's really not very reasonable but man, I'm super scared of what he did. The other reason I'm scared of Japan is the film Enter The Void.
I had to watch all of Miyazaki's films to get over that one, and I still haven't :(
posted by fantodstic at 10:06 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, it really pisses me off that this guy is free.
posted by borges at 10:31 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


No one has mentioned this, but this is an extremely disturbing documentary. The second part, where a porn producer hires a porn star and he enacts his fantasies with her and then tell her about his cannabalism is very unsettling. The fetishization of this guy is the crazy part, and his increasing urge to enact cannabalism again is a very unnerving end.

I think the salient question is why is this guy getting so much media attention?
posted by zia at 1:21 AM on December 22, 2010


why is this guy getting so much media attention?

He did something almost unique in the modern world (something morbidly fascinating) and he is articulate and able to discuss it.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:24 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


dubusabus: So I think I can understand the public media fascination with Issei Sagawa and I can understand the dark humor of inviting him to be a food critic. There's something uncanny about their way of understanding society and the fact that we sometimes endorse dark fantasies of our own makes all of this hit a little too close to home.

But it does seem like not all gruesome killers get that fascination and quasi-celebrity status, even those on that Wikipedia list of serial killers by victim. Belle Gunness on there killed several dozen people, including two husbands and all her children, but she seems to have done it just for the money, so... not so interesting? Even though murdering someone because you wanted their life insurance policy doesn't really seem less disturbing than murdering someone because you wanted their life-energy.

Harold Shipman at the top of the list killed several hundred people for no apparent reason other than wanting to, but I can't really imagine a series of horror films being based on him. Then again, his victims were typically elderly women and he killed them with an overdose of painkiller drugs; if they'd been young, attractive women and he'd killed them after locking them in a dungeon for days, I'm guessing that would be very different.

I don't know. It does seem as though we're more interested in murders when we can make the story about some kind of bizarre free-floating evil force that occasionally takes people over and makes them do sensationalistically gruesome things, and where the victims can become just aesthetically suitable window-dressing to the Evilness at centre stage, than we are when the story is more obviously about someone doing a really awful thing to another human being.
posted by Catseye at 2:46 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The above has left me with a lot to think about, including media representation of victims (or lack thereof), my own motivations in pursuing scandalous material, and why my liberal pantywaist ideas about corporal punishment and retributive justice sometimes go right out the damn window.

In lieu of posting the insanely long and scatterbrained comment that I penned, may I recommend the following: After a point, I had to stop researching the case, as I was getting sort of stupidly upset. On the admonition of my boyfriend, I closed the laptop, and we streamed the movie Up.

Silly, I know. But it helped to temporarily restore my faith in the humanity of, well, humanity. So, highly recommended.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:44 AM on December 22, 2010


this is an extremely disturbing documentary. The second part, where a porn producer hires a porn star and he enacts his fantasies with her and then tell her about his cannabalism is very unsettling.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the whole thing to me (and I can't believe nobody else has commented on this) is the fact that he drew and published a comic book about the murder.
posted by Gator at 11:04 AM on December 22, 2010


I love how he goes "I wanted to go to Greece."

Well maybe you shouldn't have shot, ate, and hacked up a woman. Kind of puts the kabosh on the whole going to Greece thing.

And loved the drawing of his 20 foot penis while he was trying to make the moves on his grandma. Either you're small and weak or you're the next John Holmes. Which is it, Sparky?

Moron.
posted by stormpooper at 7:04 PM on December 22, 2010


Quite a few Australian girls get jobs as "hostesses" over in Japan. A few of them have got into some troubles, at least one has been murdered with the police ruling her death natural causes.

It's also heavily implied by our MSM that the police and courts can be less than helpful. This cannibal story gets mentioned a lot, for reasons of highlighting how Japan's legal system can work. I'm sure a lot of Aussies are familiar with it.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:53 PM on December 22, 2010


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