Arrest of Tokyo vagina artist sparks protest over 'attack on free expression'

  • AFP, Tokyo
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2014 18:57 IST
A-handout-photo-of-artist-Megumi-Igarashi-paddling-a-kayak-designed-to-be-the-shape-of-her-own-vagina-in-Tokyo-AFP-Photo-Rokude-Nashiko-and-Marie-Akatani

Japanese police have arrested a Tokyo artist on obscenity charges for distributing data that allowed recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina, sparking protests over what supporters said was an attack on free expression.

Megumi Igarashi, 42, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko which roughly translates as "bastard kid", had been trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, modelled on the shape of her genitals.

Japan has a notoriously vibrant pornography industry that caters to a vast array of tastes. But obscenity laws still forbid the depiction of actual genitalia, which usually appear censored or pixellated in images and videos.

The artist — who has created other genital-inspired artworks — was arrested Saturday for "distributing data that could create an obscene shape through a 3D printer," a police spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

Before her arrest, Igarashi — who remained in detention on Tuesday — had collected about one million yen ($9,800) through an Internet crowd funding site.

In exchange for donations, she supplied data to supporters that would let them create 3D prints of her genitals.

Igarashi's supporters said they were shocked by what they described as the police's unusually broad use of Japan's obscenity laws in this case.

Activist Minori Kitahara said police raided Igarashi's office and seized 20 of her artworks.

"Japan is still a society where those who try to express women's sexuality are suppressed, while men's sexuality is overly tolerated," she said.

Japan's pornography industry is predominantly targeted at men and the country only last month made the possession of child pornography illegal.

The ban excludes "manga" comics — those aimed at adults as well as children, "anime" video and computer-generated graphics, following calls to protect freedom of expression.

Campaigners had long urged Japan to toughen its stance on child pornography, complaining it was a major source of the material for global markets.

If convicted, Igarashi could receive up to two years in jail or a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen, according to her lawyer.

From Around the Web
Sponsored by Revcontent

also read

Kerry to urge ASEAN to find diplomatic ways to ease South China Sea tensions
Show comments

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Chrome and Ad BlockPlus users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar at top right of this page

2. Click on ‘Enabled on this site’; this should now change to ‘Disabled on this site’


chrome



For Chrome and Ad Block users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don’t run on pages on this domain’ and then click ‘exclude’ on the pop up


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Mozilla and AdBlock Plus (ABP) users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Internet Explorer and AdBlock Plus users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock Plus’ icon in your status bar at the bottom of the screen

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Safari and AdBlock users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don't run pages on this domain’ and then click 'exclude'


chrome