|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Former celebrity cannibal struggles for next meal 2006,02,21
Shukan Shincho (2/23) By Ryann Connell
Life appears to have turned the circle for Japan's "celebrity cannibal" Issei Sagawa, who tells Shukan Shincho (2/23) that a quarter of a century after his most infamous meal, now there's something eating him.
Sagawa's sorrow stems, it seems, from having made himself unemployable by cashing in too much on the notoriety he gained for cannibalizing a Dutch woman in Paris back in 1981.
The fiend who not only avoided prison time for his monstrous meal but managed to sashay his gruesome act into a celebrity career that left him with as much of a taste for luxury as he had displayed for human flesh.
But now, as free as ever, Sagawa-kun -- the cannibal killer is nearly always referred to in Japan using the diminutive "kun" usually reserved for young (and largely innocent) men -- is struggling to come up with his next meal.
And that's legitimate foods and not the type of dish he partook of, creating headlines that sent shockwaves across the world 25 years ago.
"It was even harder to accept because he was the son of a very prominent businessman in Japan.
He made it very difficult to be a Japanese in Paris at the time," a correspondent for a major Japanese newspaper at the time of Sagawa's cannibalistic carnage tells Shukan Shincho.
"He was eventually judged insane and in 1984 returned to Japan and put into a mental hospital, where it should have finished."
But, exploiting a loophole, Sagawa walked free just a year after his return to Japan and promptly began selling himself to the public.
"There were problems with his behavior that stem from around then.
It might have been cute that he started writing for magazines and appearing on TV.
But then he appeared in a number of adult movies and went around saying things like 'White women taste great,'" a legal beat reporter says.
"Writing a book about the killing just showed a total lack of decency."
Sagawa complains that the past quarter century has not been an easy one for him.
"My parents, who went through so much, passed away on consecutive days in January last year, my father on the fourth and mother the following day.
I was being chased by debt collectors at the time and had fled into hiding in Chiba Prefecture, so, unfortunately, I couldn't see them before they died," the cannibal tells Shukan Shincho.
"The funerals were put on by my father's old company, so I wasn't welcome.
I had to watch from a closed circuit monitor set up in a different room."
Sagawa moans that he's hardly got enough money to feed himself.
"My inheritance allowed me to pay off all my debts and I've been living in public housing since April last year.
My diabetes worsened when I was in hiding in Chiba and the only way I could survive was to go on welfare.
I'm not on welfare anymore, though," Sagawa says.
"Mind you, I'm not exactly flush with cash, either.
It's a struggle to come up with the 70,000 yen a month I need to buy my special diabetes food packages."
Sagawa's struggles are a far cry from his late-'80s heyday.
Sagawa first found a niche after the 1989 arrest of pedophile killer Tsutomu Miyazaki as he provided a media shocked by the gruesome nature of Miyazaki's crimes by speaking out on what goes through a murderer's mind.
"At my busiest, I was writing for dailies, monthlies -- four publications at once at one stage.
In a good month, I'd get 1 million yen just through royalties alone," he says.
"Then, on top of that, I was also making money giving lectures and appearing on talk shows."
Amazingly, Sagawa's celebrity status also seemed to serve as some kind of aphrodisiac for a certain type of woman.
"I went on lots of dates with women I was close to.
We didn't have sex, though," he says, before going on to defend his choice of a career as a porn actor.
"I wasn't really keen at first, but they were paying me 300,000 yen a movie.
I had to keep on doing it to make a living."
But the good times soon ended.
Within about five years of becoming a national celebrity, Sagawa's media work dried up.
He sought the help of loan sharks to get money to live on.
Having done that, it wasn't too long before he was seeking help trying to escape the loan sharks.
"I wrote out about 500 resumes and stomped around to all these different companies looking for a job, but nobody wanted to take me on.
A language school position I applied for looked good after the boss said he admired my courage for not trying to hide who I am, but I missed out on getting work when all the other members of staff came out in opposition to working with me," Sagawa tells Shukan Shincho.
"I'm writing a book at the moment, but the big problem I've got now is that I can't find a company willing to publish it."
(By Ryann Connell)
February 21, 2006