While the phallus is literally worshipped in Japan, representations of the vagina are considered taboo to the point of being criminally offensive. Dazed reports that Megumi Igarashi, the Japanese artist who was famously jailed for creating a kayak based on a 3D print of her vagina, has been re-arrested on the same charges of obsenity. Police also arrested the storeowner who has displayed Igarashi’s art in her adult-themed store.
Their specific crimes? “Displaying figurines modeled on her vagina and distributing the 3D mapping data used to create the bright yellow kayak,” writes Dazed. Or, as Tokyo police put it, “using three-dimensional obscene data” and setting up “obscene figurines in a glass case so that people coming to the shop could see it.” According to a spokesperson for the Tokyo police, “This is a new factor.”
Igarashi, who works under pseudonym Rokudenashiko, which translates roughly to “bad kid,” has been making vagina-modeled boats, remote-controlled cars, lampshades, iPhone covers, and more in an effort to change Japan’s attitudes about the female sex organ. She was first arrested for her art several months ago, after she successfully crowdfunded a campaign to build the kayak. A Change.org petition requesting her release drew international attention, gathering more than 22,000 signatures. “The penis has been used in illustrations and signed as a part of pop culture,” she said upon her release, at a press conference in July. “[But] pussy has been thought to be obscene because it’ been overly hidden, although it’s just a part of a woman’s body. I wanted to make pussy more casual and pop.”
If convicted, Igarashi could face up to two years in jail and a fine of about 2.5 million yen ($21,000).