Interview with a Cannibal (Issei Sagawa)

Interview with a Cannibal (Issei Sagawa)

2011, Crime  -   125 Comments
Ratings: 6.45/10 from 73 users.

Interview with a Cannibal30 years ago, a Japanese man named Issei Sagawa walked to the Bois de Boulogne, a park on the outskirts of Paris, carrying two suitcases. The contents of those suitcases, to the lament of a nearby jogger, was the dismembered body of a fellow student – a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt, whom Sagawa had shot three days prior and had spent the days since eating various parts of her body.

He was soon arrested. According to reports, Issei uttered, "I killed her to eat her flesh," when they raided his home, whereupon they found bits of Renne still in his fridge.

Sagawa was declared insane and unfit for trial and was institutionalized in Paris. His incarceration was to be short, however, as the French public soon grew weary of their hard-earned francs going to support this evil woman-eater, and Issei was promptly deported. Herein followed a bizarre and seemingly too convenient set of legal loopholes and psychiatric reports that led doctors in Japan declaring him "sane, but evil."

On August 12, 1986, Sagawa checked himself out of Tokyo's Matsuzawa Psychiatric hospital, and has been a free man ever since.

Warning: Contains scenes which some viewers may find disturbing.

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Alessandro Ricci
2 years ago

I've been through some of the comments and all of you miss one point: people like him are amateurs, you want to see the real monsters of our time?
ALL international banks and their tools, foundations, trusts, ....; Federal Reserve; US generals in Iraq, Afghanistan and pretty much anywhere else they've been waging war, either officially or not, see us defence contractors; even better the CIA directors and staff that issued orders to those generals; ALL oil multinationals CEO's; ALL pharmaceutical giants; UN, IMF, FAO, and all other instruments of World Terror; ... do you get the idea?
And then at the bottom of the list all of you lobotomised idiot who follow any "fashionable fad" including fecal TV and those waste of papers free at tube stations instead of REAL INFORMATION.
You just had a glimpse of the world that produces phenomenons like that Japanese fellow or that Milwaukee one or that German one or the Russian or all other amateurs...
Have a nice day everyone.

3 years ago

I feel nothing but horror for that young lady who had sex with him and then had to hear about what he did, then have sex with him again. Then again, that seems to be par for the course in most of the porn industry. Sad.

4 years ago

Why is this vile little man allowed to be in public?
It just shows how backwards Japan really is. Lately especially due to Trump being the President of my country...I’ve felt like my country is going backwards instead of forward.
However now learning about how pathetic the legal system is in such a supposedly modern country like Japan...well... let’s just say I’m getting my patriotic spirit again.
How is it possible in Japan for a disturbed maniac murdering cannibal not only be allowed to walk among the good people? How is it possible in Japan to allow this itty bitty disgusting short man to be basically considered a celebrity? It truly speaks for how backwards Japan truly is.
I found it incredibly sad but interesting because I felt like Americans should look towards Japan as an alliance and we should see how Japan handles economic and social issues.
Now that’s gone. Any country that allows a monster like this to walk free and on top of it allow him to gain celebrity for murder and cannibalizing must be a ridiculous country with a ridiculous legal system.
Honestly I would never put my tourism dollars towards our country and I would recommend that no other Americans go that way because I believe the girl was dutch she was a tourist I would be very scared to go to Japan you never know if some psycho was going to murder you rape your corpse and eat you because apparently in Japan that’s OK !

5 years ago

That dude is sicker than the Black Death that swept through Europe. How can a human kill another human that's innocent and then consume their body... Just sick... and he got away with it....

6 years ago


I understand that some people would find it horrifying and unacceptable to watch this documentary. I am not one of those people. For me watching documentaries such as this it's not because I am twisted, macabre or sick. I watch them and I am sure lots of other people watch them because a human being(Monster) doing these things to another human being(victim)is
incomprehensible​ to a normal sane person and as a highly curious person I want an incite and answers to how anyone is capable of these deplorable crimes. We just can't wrap our minds around it. Want to know if something in his past may have influenced what he did. So before condemning others maybe think first. Not to mention you are still talking about watching the entire thing which in your mind would make you sick and disgusting as well.

6 years ago

I would've gladly let him eat me! But only if he was willing to keep me alive while he chews me up. Just like him at the end, I fantasize about getting killed and ripped apart. I love pain. It'stands alot more common than you'd think. That's why people like me watch Vore porn. They're awesome videos of people getting eaten mostly by animals. My favorite has always been the giant anaconda slowly swallowing a girl while she screams. I would love to get eaten by an animal or person some day.

7 years ago

How can you find a moral or societal argument for this barbarian? Please stop dismissing this heinous act by saying "meat is meat"! Some of you should be institutionalized for thinking this is justified in any way.

8 years ago

kudos to the production team! T'was very brave of you to mount such prod. It made me wonder how something could be disturbing and beautiful at the same time.

8 years ago

He makes me sick to my stomach! The LEAST he deserves is being in prison for the rest of his life. These types of people need to be wiped out of this world!

Joe Valentine
9 years ago

governments and institutions just file these people away and label them as crazy instead of trying to understand the minds of people like this

Joe Valentine
9 years ago

It Doesn't even cross most of your minds that the only difference between most of us and being like this man is circumstance .....To condemn somebody for their actions without understanding as to why said action was performed, and without a rehabilitation plan in place is a crime in it of itself.

9 years ago

Anyone that likes this video is a sick F#$# themselves. Basic instinct my ass.

Preston Peterson
10 years ago

i like the video it just basic instect this man ran off of there are worse things he could of done and on top of that almost half of this planets speacies is cannibalistic so maybe we need to all just shut the **** up and learn from this plus if u babys think is is bad dont watch two guys and 1 hammer

10 years ago

Kind of extreme to make this documentary without telling how long he was hospitalized/incarcerated. You get the feeling he did not get any kind of sentence at all.

10 years ago

Strangely... To me, the only feeling this documentary made me feel was a feeling of immense tragedy.

I cannot hate him. And I hate that.

10 years ago

Wow,he said many people would still be alive,wonder who else he killed and ate.

10 years ago

He could be out there doing it again.Why do they let people like this go? He should have gotten life in prison,or death.

10 years ago

He looks like a vampire,or Zombie.

His Forever
10 years ago

Ahhhh!?! When they started the video they wrote the word slowly "vice meets . . . " and the first word that popped into my mind was "rice"! Now I'm gonna think of that the next time I hafta eat mistry meat with a bowl. :-(

10 years ago

Man it's things like this that exist in this world that strengthen the thought that I am already in hell!

10 years ago

What an oddly but disturbingly fascinating man, totally aware of how wrong his crimes were and how twisted his fantasies are. What I found the most disturbing apart from him being set free was the fact he can actually make money from his crimes and these artists and publishers are so ok with it. A terryfying glimpse into the mind of a very disturbed individual.

10 years ago

He plotted a murder. Killed the women, kept her for T H R E E days. I bet money he's done this again. He wanted to feast on a woman, this is an urge he's had since childhood. This isn't about 'judgement' , but he doesn't need to be out in the public until he gets help or a proper punishment so he realizes what he did was wrong

10 years ago

Renae's family would have gone through sheer hell to have their beautiful daughters life not only taken in such a disgusting manner but the further national disrespect of her life and body dragged through trashy Japanese media that serves to reward this cowardly, selfish poor excuse for a human being
Its not even him I'm disgusted with because even he was surprised with the national reaction, I'm sure he was looking forward to being locked away to assume no further responsibility for himself.
Its the government and media serving to reward this kind of behavior and further disrespect this beautiful woman's life and trust.
The silver lining to this miserable cloud is that its given the man the freedom to really reflect on his pathetic life and have the desire to die.
Maybe one day he will realize no woman in the world would want to touch him let alone eat him and he would grow some balls then cut them off and eat them himself.

11 years ago

What a messed guy this is

11 years ago

For me, the actual case, the person himself, is not the most disgusting thing in the video. There have been much worse cases similar, the one I know the best is of a Russian man who lured teenage girls into sex then ate parts of their body while they where still alive and eventually killed them. He also had several victims until the police caught him and sentenced him to death.
And that there is the problem. Issei's punishment. He wasn't put in jail, he wasn't even put in a mental institute. No, he was set free. Even that isn't as bad as the fact he managed to make a living off his crimes. He made money off his horrific act. And the fact that a government allows that is much, much more disgusting that his crime, a lot more.

11 years ago

This is one of the most disgusting things I've seen. I feel sick to my stomach! I don't feel sorry for him - his situation is the result of his actions. I feel sorry for his victim. Imagine if Renee was your daughter?! I can't believe the Japanese authorities just let him go without any punishment! They should just make his dream come true of dying - that way it removes a risk to society.

11 years ago

There is a greater problem at hand here than just the cannibalistic nature of Issei Sagawa. It seems to me as if Japan endorses this kind of behaviour with cartoons, books depicting the slaughtered body of the French women and pornography all freely published. Imagine being the victims parents and seeing the graphic pictures of your daughter sold in books. Compared to other civilised countries on our planet I'd believe non of this would have been allowed to occur. Most likely Issei would be either put into a rehabilitation program, sent to jail for his crimes but definitely not make money from his crimes. For a country that was once built on a reputation for its honour and justice should now take a long hard look at itself.

11 years ago

Second observation: this bloke kinda looks like Roger from American Dad.

11 years ago

This is so sad :/ I really feel sorry for this man.

Angelic humans
11 years ago

I find it sad ...people are there judging him ...telling that he should die and no one thinks about helping him we see that he needs help but still people wont see that because they are so obsseced with their onw self that they forget the ones who are less fortunate then them and judge them . He made a mistake of killing ... eat someone .. he cant control it ..just like smokers cant control their urges of having a cigarette yet we dont judge them .... same for all the fat people out there those are diseses that needs help not judging ...and the poor victim family must be in pain but imagine for a second the mother of this man how do you think she feels , how would you feel if your kids where like this man , if your son was a killer imagine two seconds how that mother is feeling . those who are Angry out there and those who judge helps the creation of such killers . like it or not that is reality we are all conected to each other that make us all killers ... this man needs love and forgiveness same as those who judge ... be blessed with eveything that will give you peace into your life

11 years ago

disgusting vile creature, words do not describe how angry it makes me feel how a government can set this thing free in society, let alone make cartoons, porn and documentaries about it. that poor girl and her family. burn him at the stake, even that seems to easy on it

11 years ago

why dont cannibals eat clowns?? cause the taste funny!!

Reverend Booker T. Willis
11 years ago

reminds me of our government, eating away the freedoms, and eating ass.

11 years ago

This sub-human is a remorseless psychopath. He has killed and eaten many more people than he admits. A society that adulates such a sick piece of garbage is as bad as he.

11 years ago

Okay, I try to explain that unspeakably horrible murder as "insanity", but what the people around him have done; letting him go free?! Well, I suppose letting him stay in jail in France would have been a rather good investment. Fine, send him back to Japan. Letting him go free in Japan after what he has done?! That couldn´t have been of the best interest of Japanese people; he is undoubtedly dangerous! As he HIMSELF even says! Leave alone letting him go unpunished is a slap (at the best) in the face of the poor victim´s family.
And the videos, books and comics they made with him?! Seriously?! Like he could teach you something that is good and proper in this world. To me it´s uncomprehensible that that 21 year old girl was payed to sleep with him and spend 24 hours with him and then was told about what he has done. How disgusting, disrespectful of human emotion and sentiment and absolutely tasteless that is I can hardly explain.
Now I´m not even surprised anymore that in such an environment that is entertained and so amused by such horror a person like that can grow and exist and make money!!! How absolutely aweful.

Eric Blair
11 years ago

Haven't watched it don't care to.I am already sickened by half the feeble minded comments I've read in this thread, and the fact that "the victim" doesn't even have the dignity of a personal name in the comments offered reflects a detachment and indifference to a woman's life being taken and then violated in the most revolting manner.
No one deserves to die like that, & anyone that has committed such a crime doesn't deserve to live !
The lawyers,"medical experts"and officials that have allowed this fiend to go free are arguably as insane or at least morally decrepit in their complicity.

What if I as a relative of this woman sought justice and murdered this sociopath ? Yes that's right I'd get gaol for 10 years plus, while Mr masturbating murdering cannibal gleefully appears in porno films and writes comic books about his fetish !

If he had chosen an Israeli woman rather than a Dutch woman as his victim, then you would see an instant old testament solution to this situation.

The mercy I would bequeath to him would be to put him out of his misery and thus ensure that his peculiar appetite need not manifest again !

11 years ago

What the ****?! Why didn't this guy spend the rest of his life in the looney bin? ...or jail, or be executed? Instead he's writing comic books about eating people, making grotesque videos, writing books, etc. Not only is he free, but he makes a mockery out of his hideous crimes. Disgusting!

Corsia Norlwin
11 years ago

I hope people hearing about this story will not file it away in the back of their minds, then form strange opinions and notions about: 1) Japanese people; 2) Japanese men; and 3) typecast certain introverted men, though I know it'll be futile. It's easy to watch in shock, claim the individual as "sick" all the while reading over the disturbing details (why is he a celebrity?!)

That said, wish more psychologists would examine the case more closely, because his personality is unique. In the documentary, he said his mother was unsure when he first decided to go overseas (since he's from a very wealthy and well-connected family, and this affair has led to embarrassing exchanges between governments to shut it up) was there ever a pattern before the incident unknown but to his family members? Who knows!

The man's lack of emotions throughout the interview and over the memory of the incident, his facial expressions in past photos showing a strange mix of rigidity and artificiality, and even the fact that he said to "suppress" his appetite, he used to masturbate - this is a fellow who's had his feelings completely out of whack. There was a case of a woman who could not feel the emotion of fear, could this be one where a person couldn't feel "desire"? In trying to understand it, the man registers in his mind as an "appetite"?

I would be interested in the way neuropsychologists explain how a brain distinguishes between feelings of "desire" and "appetite", or whether on the somatic level, they're more similar than most think. Might be why sex always gets in between the two as well. His personality's unique, but not singularly unique.

11 years ago

That was possibly the most epic interview, I have ever seen in my life, I'm just wowed.

Hamid Hameed
11 years ago

Down to earth honest. Issei, Nature created you unique to show itself. Simultaneously kind and cruel, negative and positive, dark and bright. Meaningless in the end.

11 years ago

in the beginning he claims to be from a different planet or dimension, yet right after talks about how he's a cannibal. conflicting statements, which led me to believe you just can't take what this guy say seriously.

11 years ago

his followers are just a sign of the times as uniqueness is becoming pretty rare due to art & social interaction being accessible & accepted to & by everyone.there are only a few disputable taboo's to be breached!those are signals of a collapsing system where decay becomes entertainment!

11 years ago

Bad people happen and cannibalism isn't unique. What is truly disturbing about this is not that he is free, or that he can talk so freely about it, but that people seem so fascinated by him, books, comics, films, erotica. That is truly the sickness that I see here. It is probably the reason he can talk so frankly about everything, his experiences tell him its all right on some level.

11 years ago

only the story of rudy eugene & ronald poppo tops this!

11 years ago

Yesterday I began to watch this doc and got as far as where they began to show the real photographs of the victim's remains and I physically shuddered in terror. I paused the video and closed the window immediately because I was so shocked. My heart was pounding afterwards. I am going to try and watch it in its entirety now, though I'm not sure if I will make it through if there are more gruesome images.

This is truly the stuff of nightmares. It is beyond comprehension to me that A) this man can sit and talk about what he did as if he's recounting some run of the mill, everyday story, and B) he remains a free man to this day. The thought that he is roaming freely somewhere in the world is unsettling to say the least.

11 years ago

....I remember very clearly on some French newspaper all those years ago, (I'm British and was travelling around France at the time and was in Paris when viewing that newspaper!) a photo of him handcuffed and a policeman either side of him walking down some steps, a black & white photo, i remember him with longish hair too, always stuck in my mind that photo and story, and here it is being shown!

11 years ago

...We're ALL going end up as 'cannibals' in the near future, why, because the rate we're going in wiping out other species, well, there will only be us left to eat!

11 years ago

the man is pure sick!

11 years ago

where's azilda at?somehow i'm missing her comments to a couple of recently
added doc's....hope she's not backpacking through china at the moment & has
accidently met this charming young man,seducing her to an evening meal
("oh,you're from you like frog legs?") with his trustworthy twinkling eyes!how can one not melt like butter(yummy)to his succulent smirking lips?az,i hope you escaped in time....good luck & report back in if you made it!!!>smirk<(the new LoL!)

11 years ago

I feel as though I shouldn't feel sorry for him but after it ended I couldn't help but see it from his point of view. Him being trapped in this perverse world that he can't get out of no matter how much he wants to.