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Vagina artist Megumi Igarashi indicted on charges of obscenity

AFP-JIJI

Prosecutors on Wednesday charged a feminist artist who makes objects shaped like her vagina with distributing “obscene” data, according to her lawyer, in a case that has sparked accusations that authorities are out of touch.

The charges follow Megumi Igarashi’s arrest this month after she raised funds online to pay for a genital-shaped kayak that she made on a 3-D printer.

“We don’t agree with the prosecutors’ contention at all,” Takeshi Sumi, one of Igarashi’s lawyers, said. “We will continue pleading not guilty on behalf of Igarashi, who argues her works are not anything obscene.”

Igarashi, 42, was first arrested in July but was freed after several days following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her release.

But Tokyo police arrested her again this month — along with sex shop owner Minori Watanabe, 44, who is also a writer and feminist activist, for “displaying (Igarashi’s) obscene goods in her shop window.”

Watanabe, whose boutique is aimed at women, was later freed after prosecutors failed to persuade a judge to sanction extended questioning.

But the court approved Igarashi’s detention, as prosecutors said they feared she would destroy evidence if released, according to Sumi.

The present charges relate to three counts of distributing “obscene” data — namely CD-ROMs containing computer code for a 3-D printer that would allow users to make copies of the vagina-shaped kayak.

Obscenity laws ban pictures of actual genitalia, which normally are obscured in pornography.

If convicted, Igarashi could face up to two years behind bars and a fine of ¥2.5 million.

  • http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/ Jonathan

    As an American I am shocked and amazed at this. Doesn’t Japan have fertility festivals each year where huge penises and vaginas are displayed?

    Japan must be a particularly backward and retrograde country, for continuing to have such abusive and obtuse and inane laws on the books, today, now, in 2014.

  • http://registeredalien.weebly.com gpiper

    The artist is not sending her fans data that could be used on a 3-D printer to make a model of her vagina. She is sending her fans data that could be used on a 3-D
    printer to make a model of her vulva, labia and clitoris – her external genitals, not her vagina which is an internal organ. Constant repetition of the confusion of external with internal genitals make it seem that few people, including women, really know what and where the vagina is. Incidentally, in Japan it is not the exposure of genitals so much as the exposure of public hair that defines obscenity.

  • J.P. Bunny

    I’m certainly glad that the police aren’t wasting time and taxpayer money on frivolous things such as motorcycle gangs, domestic violence, rip-off bars, etc. As long as prosecutors can protect us from obscene computer code data lurking on CD-ROMs, and female naughty bits, I’ll sleep soundly.

    • Zos Xavius

      This is japan. It is very different there.

    • Joseph B.

      It is an entirely different country with an entirely different culture. One of the safest cities in all of Japan is a Yakuza headquarters. Gangs, domestic violence, and several other things are completely different there. While I don’t entirely agree with it, it is their law. Plus, if someone got injured trying to float her kayak, or killed, she would be held responsible anyways.

      Sexuality is handled very particularly in Japan.

      • Beatrix S.L

        “Plus, if someone got injured trying to float her kayak, or killed, she would be held responsible anyways.”

        Are you for real? LOL

        “Sexuality is handled very particularly in Japan.”

        Yeah, ever seen their penis festival?

      • C321

        Nonsense. Japan has a constitution guaranteeing all the freedoms one would expect in any western country. Japan is also usually very tolerant of all kind of sexuality and police usually have a light touch. Something strange is going on in this case. Humans are humans.

      • GG1000

        i’m very confused about the injury remark. 1. There is nothing stated here that implies the kayaks are unsafe and you’re basically saying no one in Japan can make kayaks, because any kayak could cause drowning and 2. She’s not being charged with causing danger to anyone; she’s being charged with distribution of obscenity. The fact is they’re freaking out because it’s a vag and who will save the children?

      • Dan

        It’s a country that has some of the “weirdest/ deranged porn around. where you can buy used panties from a vending machine. But this is obscene?!
        ‘;

      • Dylan Kelly

        By saying it is a different culture, you make it sound ok. This type of censorship and misappropriation of police resources should be unacceptable no matter the culture it exists in. Time to start holding people accountable instead of blaming the culture. Same statement to Xavius’ comment.

      • Christopher Lyth

        Well at least here in america we handle sexuality in a very mature and logical way ….

      • J.P. Bunny

        Her arrest has nothing to do with whether or not her kayak is safe, it’s about her “obscene” computer code on CD-ROMS. Also, has Mr. Joseph B. actually been to this country? A yakuza headquarters is not a city, it’s a building. Has Mr. Joseph B. seen the huge raft of reprobate motorcycle riders beating cars with pipes because someone looked at then strangely?
        Police are wasting time and money on frivolous things such as a female’s private bit being displayed, rather than attending to items that actually effect people.

      • Corinne77

        “domestic violence is completely different there”
        I hate to break this to you, but domestic violence doesn’t differ culturally. Trying to argue that a genitalia-shaped kayak is somehow more demanding than domestic violence is absurd.

    • Diana

      Well said J.P.

    • Ado Egbdf

      Unlike these United States, Japan is still a nation with a sense of national morality, and as such, has resisted the efforts of the porn promoters to force open the envelope of acceptability far enough to enclose their sexually explicit(and oft perverted) notions and ideas. Believe it or not, there are actually things that ought remain very private and not open to public view.

  • Kool Gool

    if her Vagina has that big of a hole then she needs to see a doctor!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cory.dorsey1 Cory Dorsey

    This, coming from the country that used to have legal child porn and invented tentacle rape. Go figure.

    • bikerferlife

      Don’t forget dolphin slaughter.

    • Joseph B.

      Except it’s illegal there and things of that nature come from every country. But please, continue being ignorant.

      • kneesus

        What are you talking about? It’s a ridiculous law. They can have images of girl being covered in all kinds of bodily fluids, sell used underwear out of vending machines, but God forbid you show the V.

      • Steve

        Japan is unique for a developed country. It just banned consumption of child porn last summer and it is still legal and not taboo to depict child rape in cartoons. That is unusual for a developed country.

      • David

        Have you ever lived in Japan? I have, for years. The national age of consent in Japan is 13. While some cities have stricter rules sex with young girls is not only idealized in ALL their porn (as well as mainstream comics like manga) but it is also almost all rape porn. The majority of Japanese porn is one or more men forcing sex on an unwilling young girl, who during the processes of being raped decides she likes loves and ends up falling in love with her rapist. The idea that this female artist is being arrested for distributing obscene material is BS and most people IN Japan know it is BS. If they were actually worried about obscenity they might try shutting down all the love hotels, that would put a cramp in the fun of all the teachers and local politicians who are molesting students.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cory.dorsey1 Cory Dorsey

        It’s illegal now. It used to not be.

    • Luciferno

      If your referring to “Loli” hentai as child porn you really need to learn to differentiate things. Because a drawing (which isn’t oppressing or abusing an actual human being) that may or may not be legal age (it might not be explicitly stated) is a hell of a lot different from exploiting children for some sick people. and along with the last point. Its tentacle rape. of a cartoon. its not literally shoving a squid into girls or something. thats like trying to arrest someone for showing explicit violence in a video game claiming they killed someone.

    • Jack

      fisherman’s wife is mine and Krieger’s favorite

  • Vicious_Vice

    the japanese as smart as they are , are a completely sexist and idiotic in their treatment of the male and female anatomy. This is an act of censorship on the arts as long as this stupid culture continues to perpetuate its draconian moral standards… this is the 21st century people have sexual organs, repressing and being ashamed of having genitals is being ashamed of being a person, now i understand why the japanese suicide rate is so goddamn high

  • bikerferlife

    Surely there is a difference between obscenity depicting the act, and clinical non sexual depictions. Do they not have sex ed in Japan? Oh wait, that would explain a lot.

  • Flyingbull

    *rolls eyes* so important.

  • griffox

    Can we humans just get over the idea that certain body parts are taboo? We all have genitalia in one form or another. Erasing the image of genitalia from public view does not negate the fact that they do exist. I would venture to say that the majority of genitalia in existence live very mundane non-lascivious lives like many of our other, more socially acceptable body parts. The only way to protect our easily tarnished human minds from the corruptible influence of the obscene is to stop arbitrarily applying the label of “obscene” to body parts. Problem solved.

  • Anonymustard

    Japan is a country that has a very bizarre combination: they have a wide and diverse array of eclectic and progressive art/visual media, and at the same time they entertain deeply backwards, bigoted, conservative legislation. The amount of cognitive dissonance lawmakers there must entertain on a daily basis even to stay halfway sane must be staggering.

    I mean, you can’t make a kayak that shows female genitalia, but you can buy sex toys, tentacle porn videos, and used panties from street vending machines… how does whoever is prosecuting this woman take themselves or this obscenity law seriously?

  • mitch

    I find it amazing that this is in Japan one of the kinkest freakin countries on the planet. Seriously – Japanese porn involves tentacles, rape, and all manner of bizarre crap…yet the junk is always blurred, and I guess it must always be viewed in complete and total privacy to avoid persecution.
    Just a very strange dichotomy.

  • http://registeredalien.weebly.com gpiper

    The thing is that the vagina is just a sheath. A tube. Rather uninteresting. Using the word “vagina” is provocative, but there’s nothing much to it. One might consider charging the artist with criminal boredom instead of obscenity. All this inaccurate talk of her vagina is boring me wretchedly. I don’t think any of this ought to be legally sanctioned taboo, but it’s inescapably true that an inordinate amount of the fun lies around the vagina in the relatively hidden folds of the vulva, labia and clitoris, which is actually what she is modelling her infamous kayak after, rather than her vagina itself.

  • http://www.Unfather.com Jacob Hopkins

    Poor Japan. If only your crazy wasn’t so apparent. Seriously though, as a former Japanophile, it’s hard to take the entire nation seriously sometimes.

  • kneesus

    Ridiculous law.

  • Adam Schifter

    Japan, the place that invented Octopus Porn doesn’t like vagina.

  • masstrip

    Isn’t this the same country that celebrates National Penis Day every spring?

  • dcm

    This from a country that holds an annual parade and festival for the penis, complete with gigantic penis balloons. ? go figure

  • Guest

    from the country where you can buy girls used panties in vending machines…lol

  • C321

    Japan is usually fairly tolerant, but this reminds me of another country that arrests innocent artists – China! Seems to me in this case she did even less to upset the establishment than Ai Weiwei did over there (and the Chinese have released him!). I can’ t help feeling there is an element of sadism at work in the pursuit of this woman, some people are probably getting turned on by it, as advocates for authoritarianism so often do.

  • Dave

    WOW really? You people are arguing over the laws of Japan? The big question is how ca she be a freaking artist if all she does is make vaginas. That is NOT art.I am really sick of seeing people calling themselves artists when they do NOTHING artistic…

  • mtb

    hold on. japan is famous for penis festivals and huge penises being in parades down major streets and they have a problem with this? a little misogyny seems to be in this mixture.

  • Jaguar

    Really? Aren’t there more important things for the Japanese authorities to be focused on other than some aging activist that makes gaudy art?

  • disqus_1cTVU3dkZo

    Pretty amazing for a country with used panties in vending machines and elder porn.

  • Williemojorisin

    You had me @ “vagina”. So where’s the pic’s ?

  • belgium2

    Japan is tricky. Genitalia in all it’s forms doing really obscure things is legal – if it is in drawn form. Their ‘hentei’, Japanese pornography in cartoon form is out there. Google ‘tentacle porn’.

    However, in pictures of real human men and women they are very strict. Interesting dichotomy.

  • Mimi SassMouf Brooks

    HA! Have they watched their own Hentai or Futanari? Please, such hypocrites. They must be the most sexually repressed people on the planet.

  • Joe Palooka

    From the land of Bukake…go figure.

  • WalnutCreekScott

    First of all, it’s a canoe. Secondly, it’s sold in an adult store. Japan is insane.

  • Charles LaFevre

    Really? That is an outrage! Society needs to get a grip the human
    anatomy is not pornagraphy. What we depit in acts may very well be
    excluding any reasonable educational value. It is the mind that perverts
    and makes the human anatomy shameful and sexual in nature.

  • Han Rasmussen

    As an American I apologize on behalf of our past Occupation that forced these backwards and repressive moral strictures and laws on the Japanese people. I hope one day soon they will realize that MacArthur is dead and they can repeal the conservative laws about sexuality he implemented without losing the respect of the rest of the world. There was no shame in the human body or human sexuality in Japan before the Occupation, those things were forced on them by outsiders. I look forward to the day they free themselves from the pernicious influence that remains from those awful days.

  • Jack

    first tentacle porn, now this. love the Japanese….

  • Joe Six Pack

    At least show us some of the “art”.

  • Valerian

    On the surface of all this, what is being portrayed by this artist is NOT a vagina at all, since that is an internal structure .. it is the labia … so the whole argument is falsely labelled

  • CoolCMo

    In other news, Michelle Duggar annouces plans to make a double decker bus in the shape of her vagina.

  • a nun, a moose

    As much as I hate “art” that’s pretty much little more than shock-baiting, arresting someone for it is a little much.

    But I mean… CD-ROM? Couldn’t you just like… e-mail it to them? why are you using caveman technology

  • GimmeUrCoffee

    Farkin worthless without pics.

  • shivabeach

    Japanese porn is hilarious. Beautiful ladies, they fuzz over the vagina and leave the anus wide open.

  • Tadatadum

    So, what is the proper way to enter that kayak ? Can just anybody jump in ?

  • Hard Little Machine

    Good thing they didn’t find the Clitoris Building.

  • Rippie

    This is one of the ugly artifacts of the MacArthur application of the Marshall Plan upon postwar Japan. Hard to believe that the sight of genitals that everyone possesses would end up being too obscene… next to the horrors left behind during and by the War. Such an American solution to something that wasn’t really a problem… and the solution has created exaggerated new problems in its wake. Come to think of it, extreme fetishization of sexuality seems to exist in Germany, the other nation most strongly helped by the Marshall Plan. Coincidence? Hmmm…

  • RC. Old ASA Soldier

    Why arrest her for a drawing of a meal at the “Y”?

  • Joe Hbomb

    Love those Japanese

  • Joe Hbomb

    Japanese do not stand for that jew filth, they are a homogenized society and more power to them.

  • Michael Lorton

    CD ROMs? They should arrest her for distributing obscenely obsolete data media.

  • http://www.contextnews.org/ Laughlin

    What’s obscene is that hair!

  • elizabeth31

    Must I be the one to say it? This is what happened when Europeans HELPED the
    natives by sending their Rapists, Thieves, and Murderers to come “civilize” everybody….a lot of this “puritanical” laws did NOT come from Asia, Africa, or anywhere else but Europe.

  • http://thebomb.com Tyler Stratton

    Row Row your Vagina, Gently down the legal stream.

  • Mickey

    So…..cartoons depicting schoolgirls being raped by sea monster tentacles is OK, but a vajajay shaped kayak is not?

    What a bizarre country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cory.dorsey1 Cory Dorsey

    I’m referring to the actual photobooks featuring photographs of real children. I don’t consider “drawings” or animation to be anything of the like.

  • phu

    Take your “we” and go back home. Not all of “us” fail to “understand” Japanese culture (something that isn’t even completely definable anyway, for any country, and is in constant flux) in the way you seem to think.

    Your assertions about what Americans at large do and think are exactly that: Yours. Those of us who don’t make the stupid assumptions you assume we do don’t need you running around telling the world we’re all presumptuous, judgmental idiots. Every culture has those; don’t assume the US has a monopoly on stupidity.

  • CoolCMo

    In other news, Michelle Duggar announced plans to make a double decker bus in the shape of her vagina.

  • Susie

    It’s vulva, not vagina. Her canoe is shaped like a vulva.

  • Justin Payne

    I see a lot of comments about weird Japanese porn and hentai but keep in mind most of that stuff is heavily censored, it does seem that Japan does not like people looking at genitals.

  • Darryl McGarry

    This is amusing. The woman is doing nothing wrong. Japanese kill whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary by the thousand and call it :”research”. When Japanese authorities are called to account and embarrassed on the international stage about such an illicit practice, they pompously lie about what is happening to save face. No one gets charged. I think the lady who has been charged for obscenity should argue she is conducting research so that the vagina can survive in the wild in sustainable numbers, or pronounce her vagina art as very important to the heritage of a culturally sensitive Japan. Japanese courts will be unable to resist her defence. I think reform of Japanese society to rid it of its inward-looking cultural obsession is far more important than worrying about a woman who sells vagina-shaped kayaks. Where can I buy one? Ah, Japan, you have done it again!

  • Darryl McGarry

    I visited North America many years ago. I enjoyed my visit and saw many things and met many people. I realised that Americans who come from the United States are great people, but think kinda funny. It is amazing what you see and uncover when you travel. Why do you assume people who constructively criticise Japan are Americans?

  • CoolCMo

    In other news, Michelle Duggar announced plans to make a double decker bus in the shape of her vulva.

  • CoolCMo

    In other news, Michelle Duggar announced plans to make a double decker bus in the shape of her vulva.

  • CoolCMo

    In other news, Michelle Duggar announced plans to make a double decker bus in the shape of her vulva.

  • DoctorZin

    I’m SELDOM sympathetic to these kinds of people who make their living on gratuitous affronts to decency, but this is ridiculous. These prosecutors have never heard of “the spirit of the law.”

  • Darrin Ballard

    This really opens Pandora’s box.

  • cddb

    Wow….there seems to be a lot of misinformation in these comments…. :-(

  • Yuko Takei

    Freaks!

  • CoolCMo

    In other news, Michelle Duggar announced plans to make a double decker bus in the shape of her vulva.

  • Jiru Ryōichi Cazzano Kawasumi

    I am a living example of what is not “normal” (and neither do i want to be) since i have Asperger.

    Here goes a true story and the greatest that ever touched this site:
    I am virgin and I want my big-brother to be the one to take that from me. No one else is like him or near being like him to me, guy or gal.

    We will see what happens if he wants to do it or not ^^

    Maybe I can even get a ring to his finger ^o^

    It becomes the surprise to expect for ! !

  • TommyTCG

    It’s obvious Japanese Authorities think sex is disgusting.. as is anything to do with the va,,,,,

  • LakhiD

    I always thought Artists are people who drew , painted or made beautiful things.

  • Bobby S

    Is Japan really Iran now?