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Japan: Artist fined for breaking the country’s obscenity law

10 May 2016

Japan_MegumiIgarashi-twitte

On 9 May 2016, a Tokyo district court found the Japanese artist Rokudenashiko (real name: Megumi Igarashi) guilty of breaking the country’s obscenity laws because she produced a kayak modelled on her vagina, reported The Guardian and BBC.

She was fined 400,000 yen (US$3,700). In court appearances, Igarashi insisted her artworks were not obscene.

“I am innocent because neither the data for female genitals nor my artworks shaped like female genitals are obscene,” she told the court in 2015.

Japan’s obscenity laws carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison or a fine of up to 2.5m yen, but prosecutors decided in February to seek only a fine.

The artist has explained that she started the art project as a response to that female genitals were ‘overly hidden’ in Japanese society, whereas the male sexual organ – the penis – has its own annual festival in Kawasaki, a festival which has been around for 39 years. Penises are regarded as ‘part of pop culture’ in Japan.

In July 2014, Rokudenashiko was arrested after she distributed data that enabled recipients to make 3D prints of her genitals in order to raise funds for the “pussy boat”. She was freed days after her arrest following a legal appeal and a public petition signed by more than 17,000 people. But she was then arrested again only months later – this time for displaying decorated plaster figures moulded in the shape of her genitals, and sending and selling CD-Roms containing the 3D computer code for the images. The court case over these incidents has been pending over a year.


Photo on top of this page: Excerpt of Rokudenashiko’s Twitter account


Sources

» The Guardian – 9 May 2016:
Japanese vagina kayak artist found guilty of obscenity

» BBC News – 9 May 2016:
Japan vagina artist cleared over kayak model but fined for data distribution

» Wikipedia – the open encyclopedia:
www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megumi_Igarashi


Related information

» Artsfreedom.org – 15 December 2014:
Japan: Artist arrested over ‘obscene’ kayak design

» Artsfreedom.org – 21 July 2014:
Japan: ‘Vagina artist’ released after one week in prison

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