Controversial Artist Rokudenashiko Found Guilty on Obscenity Charge
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Recently engaged artist Megumi Igarashi —pen name Rokudenashiko— was found guilty of breaking Japan's obscenity laws in Tokyo court on Monday. 44-year-old Igarashi was arrested in July 2014 for distributing 3D printer data of her own genitalia as part of a backer reward for her crowdfunding campaign to construct a vagina kayak.
Judge Mihoko Tanabe ruled that the data was "flat and inorganic" but realistic enough to “sexually arouse viewers.” The court did not seek jail time but Igarashi was fined 400,000 yen (US$3,690) for the crime.
She was also charged with displaying the art after she was released for her initial charge. She and adult shop manager and writer Minori Watanabe (also known as Minori Kitahara) were arrested for displaying her artwork in Watanabe's shop window in December 2014. That charge was dropped. Igarashi appeared with her lawyer outside the courthouse celebrating the partial victory (above right) with a sign that reads "a part is not guilty."
Igarashi always maintained that her artwork and her own genitalia, are not obscene.
Japanese commentators have called out the arrest as hypocritical as Japanese legislators backtracked on regulating artistic depictions of underage characters in sexual situations due to concerns of restricting artistic freedom. This concern seemingly did not extend to Igarashi's artwork.
Igarashi is engaged to Michael Scott, the lead singer of the British-Irish rock band The Waterboys. The couple expects to wed in the fall and then live in Ireland afterward. She credited the international attention the controversy had attracted for her relationship with Scott.
Igarashi's graphic memoir detailing her court case, What is Obscenity? The True Story of a Good for Nothing Artist and Her Pussy, will be available in English on Wednesday. She also appears in director Graham Kolbeins and co-writer Anne Ishii's Queer Japan documentary project.