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Manga Artist Megumi Igarashi Appears in Court on Obscenity Charges

posted on by Rachel Mahoney
Artist says work depicting her genitals should not be considered obscenity

Manga artist Megumi Igarashi maintained in Tokyo District Court last week that she was not guilty of obscenity following her arrest earlier this year on obscenity charges.

Adult shop manager and writer Minori Watanabe (also known as Minori Kitahara) was also arrested for “displaying obscene goods in her shop window in collusion with Igarashi.”

"My works are all meant to induce friendly laughter because they involve cutely decorating sexual organs. The works are not obscene," Igarashi said at court, reading from a prepared statement.

Presiding Judge Noriki Ando refused Igarashi's lawyers' pleas for her release, citing fears that she would flee or destroy evidence. He said Igarashi's work was considered obscene because "It was a legal interpretation based on past precedent."

Japanese law holds that uncensored depiction of genitalia is considered forbidden obscene material. If found guilty of her formal charge of "distributing or holding obscene materials for the purpose of selling," Igarashi could spend two years in jail and be fined up to 2.5 million yen (about US$21,000).

Igarashi works under the name "Rokudenashiko" (roughly translated, Good-for-Nothing Child) when she creates art in various mediums with the vagina as the theme, such as jewelry, cellphone cases, picture frames, and an essay manga (website is not safe for work).

Igarashi was giving the data away as a reward to individuals donating towards her project to create a small boat shaped like a vagina. Police arrested a 30-year-old office worker in Kagawa Prefecture on March 20 who obtained the 3D printer data. That was when they discovered it was being distributed by Igarashi to her contributors, and police arrested her on July 15 for distributing the data. She was charged again in December for displaying the allegedly obscene art.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun (link 2), The Japan Times

Image: Asahi Shimbun file photo

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