The censorship action taken by police last month at an Aichi museum showing photos of a photographer's genitals constitutes a human rights violation and highlights the nation's shift toward a more controlling society, the artist said Thursday.

At the center of the controversy is Ryudai Takano, whose photographs of him posing naked with male and female models prompted the police on Aug. 11 to request that they be removed from the ongoing show at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art.

The police judged that 12 of the 50 works in the show, which features works by multiple photographers, are obscene due to their unaltered display of male genitals, and threatened to arrest museum staffers if they refused to act, said museum official Fumiko Nakamura.