Megumi Igarashi the Japanese artist who arrested for creating a kayak based on an image of her vagina has now been charged with obscenity by Japanese authorities, and could face up to two years in jail. But the artist says that her work is supposed to provoke laughter, not offence.
The artist has now been formally charged under obscenity laws on December 24 , according to reports. Igarashi was arrested in July for attempting to crowd fund the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, inspired by her private parts. She was released days later following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her release.
“My works are all meant to induce friendly laughter because they involve cutely decorated sexual organs. The works are not obscene,” Igarashi stated in response to the charges, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
The 42-year-old artist was briefly detained by police last summer for exhibiting her work in a Tokyo sex shop and for emailing out blueprints for creating her vagina canoe.
Police stated at the time – in a case that clearly spells censorship – that Igarashi, who goes by the name of Rokude Nashiko which is slang for “good for nothing girl” or “reprobate child” was arrested for attempting to crowd fund the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, inspired by her private parts. She was released days later following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her release.
Igarashi was arrested for a second time on suspicion of sending a link “that shows her plan to create the boat/sculpture using three-dimensional obscene data to a large number of people,” Tokyo police stated that she “tried to have those people who were willing to finance her plan download the 3D obscene data” in October last year, the spokeswoman said.
“I don’t believe my vagina is anything obscene,” Igarashi said in a July press conference after her initial release, adding: “I was determined I would never yield to police power.”
Having been charged with the offence of distributing, or possessing obscene materials for the purpose of selling, if successfully convicted, Igarashi could well receive up to two years in jail and/or a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen ($21,000, or £13,500).