Serial Killers Who Terrified Japan [Part 3]

As mentioned in Part 2 of Serial Killers in Japan, Lucie Blackman was the first victim but Joji Obara still wasn’t done with his horrendous appetite for murdering women.

There Were More…

This wasn’t the first murder Obara was linked to. Similar to the Blackman case, investigators discovered that Obara was a prime suspect in the Australian Carita Ridgway’s death way back in 1992. Additionally, the other women who reported that they found themselves drugged in Obara’s bed pursued additional charges against the Korean-Japanese man.

Investigators gathered up material detailing how Obara committed his crimes. Inclined to target expatriates, Obara would subject his many victims (no specific number, but authorities have speculated the list may go over a hundred women) to a toxic combination of drugs and alcohol during dates.

On more than one occasion as well, Obara would also use chloroform. The vile combination of substances would then allow Obara to rape the women. Dubbing the act of raping women as “conquer play,” Obara would also document his crimes (either by writing in a journal or videotaping the act).

What’s Next?

Although pointed out as perpetrator of manslaughter and rape, Obara never admitted to being guilty. Strangely enough as well, and originally convicted to a life sentence, Obara was acquitted (according to the court, this was due to lack of forensic evidence).

Also, Lucie’s father, Tim Blackman, accepted £450,000 from a friend of Obara. The money, termed locally as mimaikin (condolence money) was considered an insult by other members of the Blackman family.

Who’s to say what Obara is up to today? Strange realities from a bizarre country like Japan!

For an exciting and eye-opening read on the Lucie Blackman’s case, please do check out Richard Lloyd Parry’s “People Who Eat Darkness”. A definite page-turner, this is a book that all true crime aficionados will enjoy!


Issei Sagawa

Speaking about the bizarre, nothing comes close to the strange Issei Sagawa. Considered legally insane, this killer cannibalized a woman – and lived out his years as a celebrity of sorts!

To Consume Human Flesh

Ever since his early years, Sagawa had a desire to consume another human being. Sagawa also has several fetishes – he had reportedly engaged in bestiality when he was a child.

Acting out on his desire to eat another person, Sagawa first attempted this bizarre act when he was 23-years old. Tailing a German woman to her home in Tokyo, Sagawa attempted to kill and eat the woman while she slept. Luckily enough, the German woke up and pushed Sagawa down.

Charged with attempted rape, Sagawa did not admit his true intention to cannibalize the woman.

A few years later, when he was 27, Sagawa went to France to study literature. And yet, his desire to consume still looms from within. Planning to kill (and eat) a prostitute, he just couldn’t seem to find the guts to pull the trigger of his gun.

Dining with a Cannibal

The desire to eat another was kept at bay – until he met Renée Hartevelt. His classmate at the Paris-Sorbonne University, Sagawa invited the beautiful woman to his apartment to translate some poetry.

Hartevelt was reading poetry when Sagawa shot her from behind. According to Sagawa, he fainted when the rifle was shot. Regaining his senses, and pushing onward to his primal desire, he then proceeded to have sex with the corpse of Hartevelt.

Finding that biting into a corpse’s skin difficult, he left his apartment to purchase a butcher’s knife. Chopping up Hartevelt’s body, he then ate up the various parts, while documenting the entire procedure by taking photographs.

It took two days for Sagawa to eat most of Hartevelt’s chopped-up corpse. He then decided to discard some of the remains by dumping the parts in a lake. It was there and then when he was caught by French authorities.

Caught red-handed with two suitcases filled with Hartevelt’s parts, Sagawa simply admitted that he killed and ate her.

Trial and Release

Sagawa comes from a wealthy family. With his father seeking assistance from a top lawyer, the two-year trial Sagawa faced was brought to a stop when the court decided that the Japanese cannibal is legally insane. Additionally, with the bizarre interest brought up by the media (and the account of his crime written by a Japanese writer who visited Sagawa when he was detained), the French court decided that the best course of action would be deportation of the cannibal back to his home country.

Back in Japan, with the original intention by the French authorities for Sagawa to be confined in a mental institution, psychological tests done by Japanese authorities deemed Sagawa as sane. Also, Japanese court declared that Sagawa should have been charged differently, with sexual perversion as the prime cause.

The French charges have been dropped because of the deportation. And because Sagawa couldn’t be detained in a mental institution, authorities had no choice but to set the cannibal free.

Cannibalistic Passion

What pushed Sagawa to cannibalism? Different theories have been thrown in the air – the primal desires may have been connected to his birth. Born prematurely, Sagawa has a small stature that hid a massive beast from within.

According to the killer himself, he chose Hartevelt because of the energy, grace, and charm she exuded. He wanted to absorb these traits into his very core.

Out in the open, Sagawa actually made use of his publicity by writing several books. Additionally, he would also be invited to join game shows and act in movies. The most bizarre role he had after his release would be as a food critic!

Now, as an artist who paints nude portraits, Sagawa hopes that people do not view him as a monster….???

We hope you enjoyed our series on Japanese serial killers. Feel like solving a crime yourself? … Check out our Forensic Science Games.

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Serial Killers Who Terrified Japan [Part 2]

The Zodiac Killer: 50 Years of Unsolved Crime