The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Japan vagina artist Megumi Igarashi convicted in obscenity case; Slapped with a $3,700 fine
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi smiles as she speaks to reporters in front of the Tokyo District Court on May 9, 2016. A Japanese artist who makes objects shaped like her vagina was convicted on May 9 after a high-profile obscenity trial, in a decision likely to reignite accusations of heavy-handed censorship. KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP.

by Natsuko Fukue

TOKYO (AFP).- A Japanese artist who makes objects shaped like her vagina was convicted Monday after a high-profile obscenity trial, in a decision likely to reignite accusations of heavy-handed censorship.

The Tokyo District Court slapped Megumi Igarashi with a 400,000 yen ($3,700) fine, but the penalty was half what prosecutors had demanded and she was also cleared of one of several charges.

"I believe I'm innocent. I'll fight until the end," Igarashi told a news briefing after the ruling.

"I'll appeal to the higher court. I want to fight these charges."

The 44-year-old artist, who had lined a table with vagina-shaped figurines, waved to and greeted supporters who showed up to court.

Igarashi was arrested two years ago for trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak in the shape of her vagina, by disseminating a coded 3D image of her genitals that would allow users to make copies.

While Japan has a multi-billion-dollar pornography industry, actual depictions of genitalia are banned. 

Igarashi who calls herself Rokude Nashiko -- slang that loosely translates as "reprobate child" -- was released days later following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her freedom.

But several months on, Tokyo police arrested her again for distributing "obscene" items -- displaying decorated plaster figures moulded in the shape of her genitals and giving away CD-ROMs containing the computer code.

On Monday, justice Mihoko Tanabe convicted Igarashi of distributing obscene material, a charge that related solely to the CD-ROMs.

The artist and her supporters scoffed at the fact her genitals were the focus of a court case.

"I've been working to change the concept of obscenity, which is usually seen from the perspective of men -- I'm mortified the judge didn't understand that," Igarashi said of the judge, who is female.

Kenya Sumi, one of her lawyers, said it was "disappointing" that the court did not see the data as an artistic work -- and warned the decision could have a chilling effect.

"It would be regrettable if (the ruling) has the effect of intimidating other artists," he said.

Prosecutors, who did not ask for jail time, had called for an 800,000 yen fine.

Japan's prolific pornography industry caters to all imaginable tastes, but tough obscenity laws mean genitalia normally appear pixellated or blacked out.

Images of male and female genitals can be found throughout the country, however. 

Last month, revellers carried giant phalluses through the streets of Kawasaki, near Tokyo, to worship the penis and pray for fertility in an annual festival.

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

May 10, 2016

Cultural secrets 'unmasked' in Artemis Gallery's Masks of the World Auction

National Portrait Gallery acquires rare album of photographs by 'father of art photography'

Romantic marble by Auguste Rodin sets new auction record at Sotheby's New York

Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch's paintings draw record crowds, 500 years on

Japan vagina artist Megumi Igarashi convicted in obscenity case; Slapped with a $3,700 fine

Canadian mining company Lucara Diamond sells massive uncut diamond for 'record $63 million'

Extensive survey of Ed Ruscha's "Ribbon Word" drawings on view at Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art

Sotheby's to offer Henri Gervex's réplique of his 1878 succès de scandale, 'Rolla'

The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson presents the dazzling work of Francesca Woodman

Blanton Museum of Art announces Carter E. Foster as Deputy Director and Curator

First major gallery show in London devoted to Ori Gersht opens at Ben Brown Fine Arts

Artists explore dissolution and the cultural landscape of loss

First solo exhibition by the musician/composer/artist Jason Moran on view at Luhring Augustine

Artists seek release of Egyptian writer jailed over sex scene

Wallace Berman's first comprehensive Los Angeles retrospective on view at Kohn Gallery

CCA Wattis Institute presents "Laura Owens: Ten Paintings", a solo exhibition of new work

First retrospective in Canada devoted to Joan Jonas on view at DHC/ART

Strong sales and new ventures at London Original Print Fair 2016

Fine art from collection of Allan Stone and rare Chinese ormolu automaton clocks offered at Clars

Yes Yes Yes & Pink Flamingo: Weiss Berlin opens first exhibition with Alex Becerra

"Kat Hutter and Roger Lee: Another California Day" on view at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

Auction raises over £1m for new Design Museum construction

Exhibition offers a look at the evolution of Catalan sculpture in the first forty years of the 20th century

Bonhams reveals the alphabet of time

About 800 works of art, by some of the fine art world's most famous names, offered at Baterby's

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Christie's to highlight several private collections in Jewellery sale

2.- Mystery of 'Salvator Mundi', the world's most costly painting

3.- High prices and world records achieved at Old Masters auction

4.- Newly identified Leonardo portrait on show in London

5.- Rare Edouard Cortes painting appears at Rehs Galleries after 114 years

6.- Understanding Jewellery: The definitive jewellery app

7.- Academy Art Museum offers only East Coast Richard Diebenkorn exhibition

8.- Egypt uncovers Old Kingdom cemetery containing colourful wooden coffins

9.- Garry Winogrand: Color is the first exhibition dedicated to the artist's rarely seen color photographs

10.- Sotheby's welcomes visitors to their newly-expanded & reimagined galleries

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful