Japanese Artist Rokudenashiko Receives Mixed Verdict in Obscenity Trial
In a ruling announced on Monday, the Tokyo District Court found the Japanese artist Rokudenashiko not guilty of obscenity for displaying artwork resembling a vagina in a Tokyo sex shop in July 2014. According to a report from NBC, the court ruled that the artwork, made with colored materials, fake fur and glitter, could be considered pop art. However, the artist was convicted of distributing indecent material and fined 400,000 yen ($3,691 USD) for circulating 3D printer data that allows users to create precise replicas of her genitals.
Rokudenashiko --- real name Megumi Igarashi (the pseudonym means "Good-For-Nothing Girl") --- says she will appeal the ruling. The data, the court ruled, was so detailed that it fit the legal definition of an obscene object. While possessing artistic merit, the court contended, the stunt's sexually titillating nature was inarguable.
According to The Japan Times, Igarashi told a news conference that she was happy that the court struck down the obscenity charge, but was disappointed at the data ruling. "The ruling explained my artwork was OK because it didn’t look like real female genitals,” she said. "It still says genitalia are obscene objects." The data was distributed as a reward for a crowdfunding campaign to build a kayak modeled on Igarashi's vagina.
Igarashi's new manga memoir, What Is Obscenity?, is published tomorrow from Koyama Press. Rokudenashiko intends for her work --- which includes a cartoon vagina named "Manko-Chan" or "Miss Pussy" --- to challenge sexual taboos in Japan, where the vagina is considered obscene despite a plethora of sexually suggestive ads, a flourishing pornography industry, and events like the "Festival of the Steel Phallus" in Kawasaki.