Wow, that's one hell of a title, huh? If you're fascinated by all things murky and macabre, real-life horror gives you all the lurid and strange stories you need. Terrible true tales like the "genius" who dug up 29 little girls and made them into sick dolls or the man who slept with his lover's mummified corpse for 7 years horrify and entice our curiosity, keeping us reading despite our revulsion. If those stories of darkness and oddity appeal to you, here's another: Sada Abe, the woman who killed her lover, cut off his penis and testes and carried them around with her, hidden in her kimono.
Sada Abe had a pleasant childhood but rocky teenage years; she was raped by an acquaintance at 14, and her parents sold her to a geisha house. After 14 years as a sex worker, enduring bad relationships and contracting syphilis, Abe switched careers to waitressing in Tokyo, where she met Kichizo Ishida, a 42-year-old restaurant owner.
Ishida, who was already married, was attracted to Abe, and the pair began an intense sexual relationship, often secreting themselves away in tea houses for four-day sex sessions. William Johnston's 2005 book on Sada Abe (Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star: A Woman, Sex, and Morality in Modern Japan) contains some illuminating quotes from the woman herself. Abe said of her lover:
"It is hard to say exactly what was so good about Ishida. But it was impossible to say anything bad about his looks, his attitude, his skill as a lover, the way he expressed his feelings. I had never met such a sexy man."
Abe, distraught that Ishida would not leave his wife and driven wild with jealousy, started to drink heavily and fantasize about killing him. Inspired by a geisha play with a murderous storyline, Abe bought a knife and held it to the base of Ishida's penis. Incredibly, this didn't put him off.
Two days later, Abe choked Ishida during sex, which heightened his orgasm. The pair had practiced erotic asphyxiation before, but this time, she tightened the obi sash around his neck too hard. When she was sure he was dead, Abe lay holding his body, before using her knife to slice off his penis and testicles. Wrapping his genitalia up in a magazine cover, Abe went on the run for three days, amidst the media circus that erupted after Ishida's body was found. After her arrest, Abe explained her decision to cut off her lover's genitals and carry them around with her:
"I felt attached to Ishida's penis and thought that only after taking leave from it quietly could I then die. I unwrapped the paper holding them and gazed at his penis and scrotum. I put his penis in my mouth and even tried to insert it inside me... It didn't work however though I kept trying and trying. Then, I decided that I would flee to Osaka, staying with Ishida's penis all the while. In the end, I would jump from a cliff on Mount Ikoma while holding on to his penis."
Sada Abe's bizarre crimes inspired many works of art, poetry and music, and there have been more than five Japanese movies made about her, most notably the 1976 erotic classic In the Realm of the Senses. Hollywood, take note: a big-budget modern adaptation of her story could be amazing.
See Eiko Matsuda as Sada Abe and Tatsuya Fuji as Ishida in the trailer for In the Realm of the Senses.
Is there something oddly romantic about Sada Abe's grisly keepsake?