Megumi Igarashi has been terrorizing the Japanese government and its strict obscenity laws for years now, distributing art that features clear depictions of vaginas, though in situations that are anything but sexual, i.e. a vagina completely anatomically removed from a body. The latest stunt by the artist was a 3D-printed kayak that had been modeled after her own vagina, which she then actually rowed in public. Because of the performance, as well as the fact that renderings/models of the kayak have been displayed in public places such as, um websites and an “adult shop,” the government brought her up on charges of distributing obscene images, and, though she was cleared of all but the charges related to the kayak itself and the fact that she distributed images of it via an online fundraising campaign, she was still found guilty and fined 400,000 Yen — roughly $3,500.
As Artnet points out, the case against Igarashi is a bit absurd generally, yes, but especially because Japan’s porn industry is thriving — producing almost twice the amount of videos per year as the United States’ not-unimpressive industry. Of course, Japan’s obscenity laws require that the genitalia is censored by pixelation, which just furthers the confounding nature of the whole thing.
As The Guardian points out, Igarashi has written a book called What Is Obscenity? and its translated edition is to be released tomorrow, Tuesday.