Japanese artist who made kayak shaped like her vagina convicted of obscenity

  • Megumi Igarashi, 43, fined £2,585 for distribution of obscene materials
  • Artist created a kayak shaped like her vagina using 3D printer in 2014
  • She then sold 3D code of scan of her genitals so fans could recreate it

Sara Malm for MailOnline

A Japanese artist who makes objects shaped like her vagina has been convicted of obscenity after distributing code for her fans to recreate her genitals in a 3D printer.

Megumi Igarashi, 43, was arrested in 2014 after she used 3D printing technology to scan her vagina and create a full-sized kayak.

The Tokyo District Court handed Igarashi a 400,000 yen (£2,585) fine for distribution of obscene materials relating to the 3D data of her genitals sent to her fans.

Megumi Igarashi, 43, has been fined £2,585 for distribution of obscene materials after sending data from a 3D scan of her vagina to her fans, so they could recreate her genitals in a 3D printer

Megumi Igarashi, 43, has been fined £2,585 for distribution of obscene materials after sending data from a 3D scan of her vagina to her fans, so they could recreate her genitals in a 3D printer

Offensive: Igarashi used online crowdfunding to raise money for her 2014 vagina kayak project, and sent the data of her 3D genital scan to her supporters as a thank you

Offensive: Igarashi used online crowdfunding to raise money for her 2014 vagina kayak project, and sent the data of her 3D genital scan to her supporters as a thank you

Igarashi, who works under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko – slang that loosely translates as ‘reprobate child’ – got the idea for the ‘vagina kayak’ in 2014.

She raised money for the project through crowdfunding, and sent the 3D data of her vagina to her supporters to show her appreciation for their donations.   

She was arrested in July 2014, but released days later following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her freedom.

However, several months on, Tokyo police arrested her again for distributing ‘obscene’ items – displaying decorated plaster figures moulded in the shape of her genitals and sending and selling CDs containing the computer code.

On Monday, Tokyo District Court convicted Igarashi for distributing material that was deemed obscene, however only asking for half of the 800,000 yen fine called for by prosecutors.

The Tokyo District Court slapped Megumi Igarashi with a 400,000 yen  fine, but the penalty was half what prosecutors had demanded as she was also cleared of one of several charges

The Tokyo District Court slapped Megumi Igarashi with a 400,000 yen fine, but the penalty was half what prosecutors had demanded as she was also cleared of one of several charges

Feminist art: Igarashi (right), also known as Rokudenashiko has also created a cartoon vagina named Manko-chan, which is Japanese for 'Miss P***y'

Feminist art: Igarashi (right), also known as Rokudenashiko has also created a cartoon vagina named Manko-chan, which is Japanese for ‘Miss P***y’

Artistic expression: When she first started making vagina art, Rokudenashiko took molds of her genitals to make whimsical dioramas including this creation

Artistic expression: When she first started making vagina art, Rokudenashiko took molds of her genitals to make whimsical dioramas including this creation

Vagina art: Other creations using her own genitals include iconography and mobile phone cases 

She had initially been charged over both the kayak itself, and the distribution of the data, but a Tokyo court cleared her of the former and found her guilty of obscenity relating to the latter.

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

‘I am innocent because neither the data for female genitals nor my art works shaped like female genitals are obscene,’ she told the court last year. 

While it is up to Japanese courts to decide what constitutes obscenity, they have consistently ruled that the depiction of genitals in any medium is illegal for the past 50 years.

Controversial: The decision to convict 43-year-old Igarashi is likely to reignite accusations of heavy-handed censorship in Japan

Controversial: The decision to convict 43-year-old Igarashi is likely to reignite accusations of heavy-handed censorship in Japan

As a result, the country’s flourishing porn industry only always pixellates the actors’ genitals, or blocks them out behind black censorship bars. 

However once not displayed in a medium, the Japanese attitude to depictions of genitalia in public can be the complete opposite.

The annual Festival of the Steel Phallus features massive statues of penises, yet is still considered a family friendly event.

The festival, celebrated last month, sees revellers giant phalluses through the streets of Kawasaki, near Tokyo, to worship the penis and pray for fertility.

As it is considered a religious festival centered around a shrine, it is not considered obscene or in contrast to the country’s censorship laws.