Japanese authorities apparently aren’t as inspired by female genitalia as Megumi Igarashi.
Photo courtesy Megumi Igarashi
Wherever artist Megumi Igarashi can be found, so too can her creative muse—her vagina. But it’s this particular anatomical inspiration that has gotten her into hot water with Japanese authorities. Earlier this year, the 42-year-old artist was arrested for posting a video online detailing her plans to build a kayak modeled after a 3D rendering of her vagina, and attempting to crowdfund the costs. Japanese police, none too pleased with Igarashi’s affectionately named “pussy boat,” briefly held her on obscenity charges before releasing the artist. Then, this past Wednesday, Igarashi was detained yet again on the same charges, with police infuriated by figurines of her lady parts displayed in a local sex toy store. She was also apparently again liable for distributing a link “that shows her plan to create a boat using three-dimensional obscene data to a large number of people,” said a Tokyo police spokeswoman to The Japan Times.
Screenshot from Igarashi's crowdfunding video for her "pussy boat"
“I would like to give a new meaning to ‘pussy,’” Igarashi, who also goes by Rokudenashi-ko (which translates roughly to “reprobate child” or “good-for-nothing kid”), says in her crowdfunding video. Citing the fact that her own work, or any mention of the female genitalia tends to send a majority of Japanese citizens into angry fits (especially the elderly), Igarashi hopes that her art will help reduce the antiquated stigma surrounding female genitalia. “It is just a part of women’s bod[ies],” she says. Although Japan boasts a thriving pornography industry that hits an incredible spectrum of sexual penchants, it still insists upon censoring genitals in images and videos in adherence with conservative obscenity laws.
Igarashi's colorful rendering of Japanese citizens' reaction to her vagina art.
Regarding her more unconventional subject matter, Igarashi wrote on her website: “Why did I start making this kind of art pieces? That was because I had not seen pussy of others and worried too much about mine. I did not know what a pussy should look like at the same time I though mine is just abnormal."
If convicted this time around, Igarashi could face up to two years in prison and fines up to ¥2.5 million Japanese yen, or just a smidge over $406,200 dollars.
“I don’t believe my vagina is anything obscene,” Igarashi said after being released in July. “I was determined I would never yield to police power.”
Fight on, sister. Fight on.