Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Vagina kayak artist (re)arrested in Japan"

Photo and text from Japan Today, 12/4/14.

An artist who made a kayak modeled on her own vagina was arrested in Japan on Wednesday, police said, in a case that has sparked accusations of censorship.

Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko—offensive slang which loosely translates as “reprobate child”—was arrested in July for trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, inspired by her genitals.

She was released days later following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her freedom.

But on Wednesday, Igarashi was re-arrested on suspicion of sending a link “that shows her plan to create a boat using three-dimensional obscene data to a large number of people,” a Tokyo police spokeswoman told AFP.

She “tried to have those people who were willing to finance her plan download the 3D obscene data” in October last year, the spokeswoman said.

Igarashi also allegedly sold CD-ROMs containing similar data during a May exhibition in Tokyo.

“I don’t believe my vagina is anything obscene,” Igarashi said in a July press conference after her release, adding: “I was determined I would never yield to police power.”

Sex toy shop manager Minori Watanabe, 44, was also arrested for “displaying obscene goods in her shop window in collusion with Igarashi” from around October last year until July, police said.

Japan has a notoriously vibrant pornography industry that caters to a vast array of tastes.

However, its obscenity laws still forbid the depiction of actual genitalia, which usually appear censored or pixellated in images and videos.

If convicted of distributing, or holding obscene materials for the purpose of selling, Igarashi could receive up to two years in jail and/or a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen.


See also: (in Japanese).

UPDATE! (from Japan Today, 12/9/14):

"Sex shop owner freed; vagina artist still held"

A sex shop owner arrested along with a artist who makes objects shaped like her own vagina has been released from Japanese police custody, lawyers said Monday, after the courts refused to extend her detention.

In a case which sparked accusations that Tokyo’s police are overbearing and out of touch, Minori Watanabe, 44, also a writer and feminist activist, was freed after prosecutors failed to persuade a judge to sanction extended questioning.

Watanabe, whose boutique is aimed at women, was arrested last week for “displaying obscene goods in her shop window”.

Her lawyer Ichiro Muraki said she was freed on Saturday after two days’ detention, in a rare case of a court siding with a suspect.

Detectives arrested Watanabe—who is known in Japan under the nom-de-plume Minori Kitahara—on the same day as they took artist Megumi Igarashi into custody for the second time this year on charges relating to a genital-shaped kayak she made on a 3D printer.

Igarashi was still being held on Monday, with her defense lawyers waiting for judges to rule on whether she should remain behind bars.

“She is banned from receiving visits except from her lawyers,” her attorney Takeshi Sumi said.

“She is being accused of different but similar counts from the last time, which all date back before her previous arrest” in July, he said. “It is baffling why police had to arrest her again.”


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