Japanese artist guilty of 'obscenity' for 3D printing vagina – Wired.co.uk


July 12, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ 3D Printed Articles


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A Japanese artist who distributed 3D printer files of her vagina has been found guilty of obscenity charges in her homeland.

Megumi Igarashi – also known by the pseudonym Rokudenashiko, roughly meaning ‘good-for-nothing girl’ – was arrested in 2014 for distributing 3D files sculpted from her genitals. The model was made as part of her performative “pussy boat” piece, where Igarashi built a life-size kayak shaped like her own vagina and rowed it along the Tama River. The 3D files were sent to backers of her crowdfunding campaign to finance the project.

Charges were brought under part of the country’s penal code dating back to 1907. Under “Article 175. (Distribution of Obscene Objects)”, Japanese authorities can punish “a person who distributes, sells or displays in public an obscene document, drawing or other objects” with up to two years in prison, a fine of ¥2,500,000 (£15,846), or a petty fine. The same penalties apply to anyone possessing “the same for the purpose of sale”.

Japan’s vaguely-worded obscenity laws have been unchanged for over a century, and Igarashi isn’t the first to fall victim to them. The lack of clarity has caused confusion over certain portrayals of sex or sexuality in anime and manga.

The court case has been long-running, involving both Igarashi and co-defendent Minori Watanabe, the owner of an adult shop who was charged for displaying Igarashi’s works. Testifying in January 2015, Igarashi said her work was “meant to induce friendly laughter because they involve cutely decorating sexual organs.” She added the works were “not obscene”.

In a ruling passed in Japan on Monday, judge Mihoko Tanabe declared that although the data Igarashi provided in the 3D printer files was “flat and inorganic”, they were realistic enough to “sexually arouse viewers”. The court did not sentence Igarashi to jail but fined her ¥400,000 (£2,535), half the penalty prosecutors had demanded.

Judge Tanabe cleared Igarashi of charges relating displaying her works, including the final kayak, in Watanabe’s store. Tanabe said that as the banana-yellow kayak did not “obviously” resemble female genitalia, it could not be considered obscene.

Credit Eigo Shimojo / Handout via Reuters

Igarashi’s art – which includes cartoon depictions of vaginas, sculpted character figures, and even a graphic novel memoir, What Is Obscenity? The Story Of A Good For Nothing Artist And Her Pussy – are aimed at tackling Japan’s cultural stigmas surrounding women’s bodies and sexuality. The artist has rallied against the taboo of even mentioning “manko” (Japanese slang for vagina), while “chinko” (a term for penis) is so accepted that children’s shows can use the word freely. “Pussy has been thought to be obscene because it’s been overly hidden although it is just a part of women’s body,” Igarashi previously explained. “I wanted to make pussy more casual and pop.”

Credit 6d745.com

A Japanese artist who distributed 3D printer files of her vagina has been found guilty of obscenity charges in her homeland.

Megumi Igarashi – also known by the pseudonym Rokudenashiko, roughly meaning ‘good-for-nothing girl’ – was arrested in 2014 for distributing 3D files sculpted from her genitals. The model was made as part of her performative “pussy boat” piece, where Igarashi built a life-size kayak shaped like her own vagina and rowed it along the Tama River. The 3D files were sent to backers of her crowdfunding campaign to finance the project.

Charges were brought under part of the country’s penal code dating back to 1907. Under “Article 175. (Distribution of Obscene Objects)”, Japanese authorities can punish “a person who distributes, sells or displays in public an obscene document, drawing or other objects” with up to two years in prison, a fine of ¥2,500,000 (£15,846), or a petty fine. The same penalties apply to anyone possessing “the same for the purpose of sale”.

Japan’s vaguely-worded obscenity laws have been unchanged for over a century, and Igarashi isn’t the first to fall victim to them. The lack of clarity has caused confusion over certain portrayals of sex or sexuality in anime and manga.

The court case has been long-running, involving both Igarashi and co-defendent Minori Watanabe, the owner of an adult shop who was charged for displaying Igarashi’s works. Testifying in January 2015, Igarashi said her work was “meant to induce friendly laughter because they involve cutely decorating sexual organs.” She added the works were “not obscene”.

In a ruling passed in Japan on Monday, judge Mihoko Tanabe declared that although the data Igarashi provided in the 3D printer files was “flat and inorganic”, they were realistic enough to “sexually arouse viewers”. The court did not sentence Igarashi to jail but fined her ¥400,000 (£2,535), half the penalty prosecutors had demanded.

Judge Tanabe cleared Igarashi of charges relating displaying her works, including the final kayak, in Watanabe’s store. Tanabe said that as the banana-yellow kayak did not “obviously” resemble female genitalia, it could not be considered obscene.

Credit Eigo Shimojo / Handout via Reuters

Igarashi’s art – which includes cartoon depictions of vaginas, sculpted character figures, and even a graphic novel memoir, What Is Obscenity? The Story Of A Good For Nothing Artist And Her Pussy – are aimed at tackling Japan’s cultural stigmas surrounding women’s bodies and sexuality. The artist has rallied against the taboo of even mentioning “manko” (Japanese slang for vagina), while “chinko” (a term for penis) is so accepted that children’s shows can use the word freely. “Pussy has been thought to be obscene because it’s been overly hidden although it is just a part of women’s body,” Igarashi previously explained. “I wanted to make pussy more casual and pop.”

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