Artist Rokudenashiko's Obscenity Charge Appeal Rejected

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
"Vagina kayak" artist must pay fine as ruled by lower courts

The Supreme Court's No. 1 Petty Bench in Tokyo rejected on Thursday the appeal of artist and manga creator Megumi Igarashi related to an obscenity case for Igarashi's distribution of 3D scans of her genitalia in 2013 and 2014. The 48-year-old who uses the pseudonym Rokudenashiko ("good-for-nothing girl") must pay a fine of 400,000 yen (about US$3,740), as ordered by lower courts.

Igarashi reportedly held a banner with the text "unjust ruling" in front of the Supreme Court building in Tokyo on Thursday. She also posted a response to the ruling on her blog on Thursday. She said that she plans to continue her activities "without self-restraint." She added that "many happy things happened" in the process of reaching this ruling, and in that sense she takes pride in the "historic ruling." Igarashi's post included an image (seen above right) of her holding a banner that reads "historic ruling." The blog post included a link to download 3D data for Igarashi's Manko-chan (Vagina-chan) character until August 15.

Igarashi's appeal to the previous court ruling claimed that the data distribution was "part of her artistic activities" and "provided an opportunity for supporters to create something with the data and participate in producing artwork through donations." Igarashi also claimed that the ruling was based on "outdated principles."

The lower courts had ruled that the 3D data "realistically reproduce the shape (of female genitalia) and stimulate the viewers' sexual desire." However, the lower courts found Igarashi not guilty of obscenity for exhibiting the art in a Tokyo adult entertainment shop in 2014, acknowledging "some degree of artistry and ideology."

Igarashi distributed the 3D data of her genitalia as part of a crowdfunding campaign to make a kayak also shaped like her genitalia. Police initially arrested her on obscenity charges in July 2014. She was again arrested in December 2014 after displaying a plaster art piece in the window of Minori Watanabe's (also known as Minori Kitahara) adult shop earlier that year. The Tokyo District Court ruled in May 2016 that she was guilty of breaking obscenity laws due to the 3D data distribution, but not guilty on charges related to the kayak and shop display.

Igarashi published the graphic memoir What is Obscenity?: The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist and her Pussy in English in May 2016. Additionally, she appears in director Graham Kolbeins and co-writer Anne Ishii's Queer Japan documentary project.

Sources: The Mainichi, The Tokushima Shimbun, Megumi Igarashi's blog

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