When Sada Abe became the mistress of married restaurateur Kichiz Ishida, she fell so deeply in love with him that it drove her to murder.
The Japanese couple often carried out erotic asphyxiation on each other as part of their adventurous sex life – but one morning Abe purposely strangled her love in a hotel room and cut off his penis and testicles.
Abe also left carved out a message on her lover’s leg written in blood saying “Sada, Kichi together.”
When the 31-year-old was arrested three days later for his murder police found her with Kichiz?’s genitalia carefully wrapped in a magazine cover in her bag.
The murder, which took place on the morning of May 18, 1936, became a national sensation in Japan and when Abe was put on trial the courthouse was awash with inquisitive members of the public.
Abe was found guilty and despite asking to be executed she was jailed for just six years.
She served just five years and after her release she wrote an autobiography.
More than eight decades later her story still gathers interest – but why did she kill a man she claimed to love so much?
She is said to have told police: “I loved him so much, I wanted him all to myself. But since we were not husband and wife, as long as he lived he could be embraced by other women.
“I knew that if I killed him no other woman could ever touch him again, so I killed him.”
Abe became a mini-celebrity after her release fromjail
The infamous murderer was born in an upper middle-class family in Tokyo in 1905 and was the seventh of eight children.
She had a privileged upbringing but after she was raped at the age of 14 she became out of control which resulted in her parents selling her to a ‘geisha house’ three years later.
Abe had shown a lot of interest in the world of geishas so her mum and dad believed this could be the way to get her life back in order.
Back then a geisha girl was seen as glamorous celebrity but in order to become one of the best ones, who did not sleep with men, you would have to have been trained from a very early age.
Abe wasn’t – so she became a low-rank geisha who had sex with customers for money.
She wasn’t enjoying the restrictions of living in a geisha house so she left and became a licensed prostitute.
However she gained a reputation of being ‘troublesome’ after she was found to have stolen money from some of her customers.
This lead her to enter the more murkier world of unlicensed brothels.
It was while she was working in a brothel that she first became a mistress to a married man who was a friend of the bordello’s owner.
But her lover mistreated her – and unhappy with her life – Abe left the brothel and started working at a restaurant instead.
The wealthy owner of the eatery was Kichiz? Ishida who took a shine to Abe – and after he made a pass at her – they became lovers.
He was known as a womaniser and the pair are said to have had such great sexual chemistry that they often holed themselves in a hotel room for several days.
While Kichiz? is said to have seen Abe as another notch on his bedpost, she had fallen in love with him and was felt jealous every time their passionate rendezvous ended and he returned to his wife.
During their sexual encounters Abe said Kichiz? liked being choked and during a two-hour erotic asphyxiation session he was left in pain but said he enjoyed it.
Leading up to Kichiz?’s murder, the couple had spent four days in a hotel having sex.
Such was their libido for each other that they refused to stop having sex when the hotel’s maids entered their room to bring them refreshments.
The following morning their two month long affair was over in the most gruesome of ways.
Abe had used the knife she had hacked off her lover’s penis with to carve the message on his body.
After the murder Abe had planned to commit suicide so checked herself into a hotel under a fake name where she spent a day writing farewell letters to her friends.
She had decided to jump to her death of a mountain but wanted to ‘have sex’ with Kichiz? just one more time.
So she unwrapped his severe penis and unsuccessfully tried to have intercourse with the remains.
Abe never managed to carry out her suicide plans as she was arrested by police who had tracked her down to the hotel.
She had told police: “After I had killed Kichiz? I felt totally at ease, as though a heavy burden had been lifted from my shoulders, and I felt a sense of clarity.”
After Abe served her prison sentence she wrote cashed in her notoriety to become a mini-celebrity and penned her autobiography “A Woman Called Sada Abe”.
She also starred as herself in a documentary made in 1969 called “History of Bizarre Crimes by Women in the Meiji Taish? and Sh?wa Eras” before she disappeared from the public eye the following year.
The 1976 French-Japanese film In the Realm of the Senses(Ai No Corrida) is based on the couple’s passionate affair.
In 1980 English singer Chaz Jankel recorded the song Ai No Corrida using the title of the movie – the same track was recorded a year later by Quincy Jones.
Abe is believed to have spent her final years living in a nunnery.
The story of her murdering and mutilating her lover has been re-enacted in various films, books and even music projects to this day.