Update on December 26, 2014: Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi has been indicted on charges of distributing obscene data, NPR reports (via Japan Times), after having been arrested twice for her 3D-printed art project – a kayak with a representation of her vagina. If convicted, Igarashi could face a fine of $20,755 and possibly two years in jail. Igarashi has pleaded not guilty, and supporters feel she has been a victim of “flawed” Japanese laws that are harsh on women.
Original story: Japan is a nation that embraces the cutting-edge, but it’s also a highly traditional and conservative country, especially when it comes to sex and pornography in the media. And it is because of its obscenity laws that a Japanese artist has found herself in hot water. The New York Observer’s Betabeat (via The Guardian) reports that Megumi Igarashi is being held by authorities for attempting to 3D-print a kayak based on her vagina.
Igarashi has, in the past, created art that’s modeled on her genitalia. She considers herself a “deco-man,” or “decorated vagina,” artist. “I make art pieces with my mold p***y, which I would rather call Manko (MK),” Igarashi says. But her Campfire crowdfunding attempt to create her “Manko boat” – or, as Igarashi calls it, “the world’s first 3D scanned ‘Peach on the Beach’” – however, is now seen as a criminal activity.
The artist told authorities that she hasn’t actually committed any wrongdoing. In fact, Igarashi hasn’t actually shown any graphic imagery of herself; she is simply distributing code of a 3D scan she made of her genitalia, according to the Japan Times. Before, Igarashi would create molds of her lady part; the digital scan, however, might be what’s crossing the line.
Although Igarashi is reportedly still under arrest, the artist is most likely not surprised by the reaction. On her crowdfunding page, she acknowledges that in Japan, talking about or showing human genitalia – female vagina, in particular – is taboo (even in Japanese pornography, private parts cannot be shown). She decided, as an artist, she would start the conversation by creating her deco-man pieces, and perhaps bring a change to Japanese society – or at least make it more acceptable to talk about it.
Check out Igarashi’s Campfire page and video below for some “interesting” Manga-inspired illustrations.
(Via Betabeat; images via Megumi Igarashi)
(This article was originally published on July 15, 2014.)