An artist who made a kayak modeled on her own vagina was arrested again on Wednesday, police said, in a case that has garnered international attention and sparked accusations of censorship.
Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokudenashi-ko — 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 3-D printer, in the shape of 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 taken into police custody again 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 said.
She “tried to have those people who were willing to finance her plan download the obscene 3-D 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. “I was determined I would never yield to police power.”
Sex toy shop manager Minori Watanabe, 44, was also arrested on Wednesday for “displaying obscene goods in her shop window in collusion with Igarashi” from around October 2013 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 pixelated 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 a fine of as much as ¥2.5 million.