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Vagina kayak artist denies obscenity charges

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But rigid obscenity laws ban the depiction of actual genitalia, which normally appear pixellated or behind black spots.

Except in the case of the penis festival, where people parading a large pink erect penis is perfectly fine! Vagina!

56 ( +57 / -3 )

I'd like to hear what the opposition to her case has to say. I need a laugh.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Rights for vaginas!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Leave Ms. Igarashi alone! We have statues of male genitalia considered art, penis festivals celebrating men's privates, many many painting and statues of women's naked bodies, etc., etc...all around the world!!! A woman's body is not obscene...IT IS ART!!!!

27 ( +28 / -1 )

But rigid obscenity laws ban the depiction of actual genitalia

These 'rigid' obscenity laws banning the depiction of actual genitalia are indeed inconsistent and arbitrary (like nearly every rule and social norm in Japan). They are only selectively rigid.

They certainly don't apply to the many genitalia festivals and shrines in Japan predating this law, such as the Kanamaru Matsuri (penis festival, "Festival of the Steel Phallus") or the Ososo Matsuri (vagina festival) featuring all sorts of 'items' depicting actual genitalia — everything from giant portable penis omikoshi shrines to penis/vagina lollipops.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

Just a vendetta by the police and prosecutors. And all men I'm sure.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Yeah, but it's ok to carry a two meter high penis around the streets at a festival and to have fake sex on stage at the same festival. Obviously, some 'jiji' has his nickers in a twist over this and is on a witch hunt.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

It's only a vagina kayak, why is everyone getting into a flap.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

You keep fighting the corrupt system, Megumi.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Does Michelangelo's David appear pixelated in Japanese books? How about some of the more graphic ukiyo-e prints? Evidently data from a penis or vagina is more pornographic than a penis or vagina that is drawn or sculpted. The court would need to explain why this is. Fun case.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

If we all had vagina kayaks, we'd all be getting into flaps.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

It is obscene and vulgar. If she wants to show herself off then there is an industry that will cater to her every whim and desire and pay her as well. As for comparison with male oriented festival, well they are just generic versions. She is essentially putting her own private parts on display in full view of the public and should be prosecuted accordingly.

-58 ( +2 / -60 )

'I am innocent because neither the data for female genitals nor my art works shaped like female genitals are obscene...' Megumi Igarashi...told judges at the Tokyo District Court'

That's the very point of cultural disruption, the disequilibrium between the genders in Japan.

Will the aging generations of Japanese accept the change in values supporting gender equality?

It will take a paradigm shift in cultural values to make real change for emerging generations.

The feminist fight for equality will not stop with Megumi Igarashi, but she deserves much kudos for her courage and resolve.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

It is obscene and vulgar. If she wants to show herself off then there is an industry that will cater to her every whim and desire and pay her as well.

Wow. This kind of thinking is exactly why we need more vagina kayaks, not fewer.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

@steve

Have you seen it online ? It's big, pink and wouldn't have known it was twat, unless told. You on the other hand ......

21 ( +21 / -2 )

It is obscene and vulgar.

The idea that vaginas are obscene and vulgar is obscene and vulgar.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

Steve Chrichton, you are kidding, yes?

What a waste of time and effort by the authorities.

So many more pressing issues to attend to.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

"I have been arguing that it is strange to single out one part of a human body that every woman has"

No, not strange. According to her logic, it becomes OK to walk outside exposing her vagina.

-30 ( +0 / -30 )

It is obscene and vulgar. If she wants to show herself off then there is an industry that will cater to her every whim and desire and pay her as well.

I so very much want to believe that this post is a joke..but I'm pretty sure you're for real...which is scary!

It's only a vagina kayak, why is everyone getting into a flap.

You, on the other hand, will be getting a call from me just as soon as I decide to take up a career in stand-up. Pure genius...

12 ( +14 / -2 )

No, not strange. According to her logic, it becomes OK to walk outside exposing her vagina.

Not the same at all.

Is the Kanamata festival okay? Is the statue of David obscene?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

A body part, in itself, is not obscene. It's not even sexual. But it's about how people perceive it. People see vaginas and penises and think about sex. It's only natural to jump to that conclusion because that's how almost all societies in the world view these body parts.

What the Japanese government is doing in this case, is "protecting" the unseen. They're protecting thoughts and perceptions. The implication they're making is that by not looking at these things, by censoring and covering it up, they can protect the morality, thoughts, and perceptions of their culture.

However... What they're really doing, is perpetuating the norm.

If you censor and cover up something, people just want to see it more. They want to know what's underneath. They want to know the truth.

But, if you don't cover it up. If you don't censor or conceal or hide, then that's it. People see what it is. Beyond penises and vaginas, people see the truth. And the truth, should be normal. It shouldn't be shocking, weird, or obscene. If the truth is perpetuated, then it becomes normal and people become more accustomed to it. Then, that's the new norm for a culture.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

There‘s a statue of a naked woman near my station; is that a crime?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

There's a statue of a naked woman near my station; is that a crime?

If it's a mold of a real woman exposing her vagina, yes. And she tried to sell her vagina data on line too. She has to abide by the law

-31 ( +2 / -32 )

This government and society is joke, to arrest an artist over something like this when they have men creating child porn in manga, questionable porn at the least and a festival dedicated to the largest penis known to man kind. Here the rest of the world is 2015 and the Japanese government is 200 years behind. I have forwarded this onto the BBC to get them to cover this as it is disgusting that this is happening, though not surprising due to the overwhelming amount of wrinkly old men with outdated ideas in power here. At the end of the day it is about power and how Japanese men perceive women as a lower species, men can rape and use women however they want but they cannot show independence or that they are free as this flies in the face of what Japanese men want to see women as.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Steve

So by your own logic, if she had created a just a "generic" vagina kayak not based on her actual vagina, then it would have been OK? How would you tell the difference aside from actually seeing her vagina?

13 ( +13 / -0 )

This really is a massive waste of public money. Did the police have a slow day and not enough lost bicycles and umbrellas to track down?

Leave this woman alone, she's done nothing wrong.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

British artist Jamie McCartney exhibited a wall of 400 vagina/vulva plaster casts at various art galleries. See: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/mar/30/jamie-mccartney-vulva-casts-boulder-colorado-red-tent-revival

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Megumi Igarashi--HERO

I am Megumi Igarashi!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I seem to remember something about the current obscenity laws in Japan were made or evolved from laws imposed after the second world war- i.e. by the United States of America. And laws there in many cases are weird too to say the least where for example in some states for crime X you get a 100 dollar fine and in other states a 20 years in prison.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Next to go should be the Tokyo Skytree. Not only is it's shape offensive, but it can be seen all over Tokyo, even by children!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pornography on eye-level display in convenience stores is something that I think should be dealt with and it is surely deliberately positioned so that the rear of the magazines can be seen from the street. Just like many cigarette vending machines are positioned near schools and cram-schools. Deliberate and unchecked. A kayak that looks like an ully? Off to prison with you!!see following comment

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Just when you thought the world was safe from Victorian anti-sex hysteria!

Why is it we are told Megumi's name, but never the name of the police and judges playing the roles of the Spanish Inquisition? Who are those nameless faceless creeps? If anything is obscene here, its their anonymity.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This 'vaganoe' business reminds me of when they were marketing female condoms here in the early 90s - what, male condoms are OK, but female ones are not? Like female genitalia-shaped art is obscene but traditional phallic totems are celebrated! lol

Female condoms never took off. I wonder why (!?!) and I wonder if they are still marketed.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Who are they to judge her?

Everything else has been said already.

@tinawannabe ..... why is it that (displays of) penis(es) are allowed (not only during festivals)?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yeah right. But yet they can have a huge penis (fertility) festival and that is fine? The Police, Courts and Government here are just so hypocritical.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

why is it that (displays of) penis(es) are allowed (not only during festivals)?

I don't like the festivals myself, but maybe because it is not a mold taken from some guy?

I have forwarded this onto the BBC to get them to cover this as it is disgusting that this is happening

Japan is an independent country that has its own laws

-19 ( +1 / -19 )

free the vagina! i've always wanted to say or write that!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

What a joke. She's being persecuted for being female. Leave her alone.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sad thing is that Japan is not the only country with such utterly ridiculous people in it working over-time to force their utterly ridiculous ideas on other people.

Other similar ridiculousness here was the former long held banning of birth control pills, but when viagra came out it was accepted almost instantly. And that hypocrisy led to birth control pills finally being allowed, which was a great boon to women who had exceptionally horrible periods.

Then you have women not being allowed in the Sumo ring because they are deemed "unclean" due to menstruation, a process to which we all owe our very lives.

As I recall, every single one of us came out of a vagina. And if that fact bothers some people, well good! I would not trouble anyone with such facts if such people were not bothering the rest of us over their ridiculous sensitivities.

7 ( +9 / -1 )

It is obscene and vulgar. If she wants to show herself off then there is an industry that will cater to her every whim and desire and pay her as well.

Got to be a bible-thumper here.

As for comparison with male oriented festival, well they are just generic versions. She is essentially putting her own private parts on display in full view of the public and should be prosecuted accordingly.

Please tell me the difference between a "generic" penis and vagina? I suppose the words themselves give you shivers.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This case is ridiculous! Art must be free, no matter what it is.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

She has a point or rather a legal "opening" to change Japanese law here. The Japanese fertility festival where they parade a handsomely large erect winkie around but ignore the fact the it is the female genitalia that most interests humanity and is really the source and bearer of fertility. Looks like penis =1, vagina=0 get it!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan's answer to Larry Flynt! Bless this champion of our freedom and our rights!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I find it interesting that this article, written by AFP, an outside news organization (from France) writing for what is clearly the non-Japanese market, suddenly refers to the "artist" in question as Megumi Igarashi, and not by her art name "Rokudenashiko" ("Stupid/Ignorant Girl/Child.")

All the previous articles here used that name almost exclusively, while her rather self-deprecating, self-bestowed moniker isn't even mentioned once here.

I wonder why the change...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan is an independent country that has its own laws

Many of the laws were forced upon them by the United States during the occupation. Some laws need changing some don't, new ones may be needed. The system needs to be dynamic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Priorities misplaced. Leave her alone.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

penis =1, vagina=0

Much To Do About Nothing (i.e. the "O" thing. Nothing=0) by William Shakespeare in 1598/99. Don't know whether he got into trouble....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The cops might be all over this case trying to stitch this lass up, however, I wonder what the judge presiding thinks? Although a high percentage of cases in Japan result with the beak siding with the prosecution, as many people have already pointed out the case is either flimsy at best or has the stench of being a clear double standard. In an ideal world, such a ludicrous and wasteful case would be laughed out of court. Bring on Rumpole!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

She was held in custody for around a month before being granted bail.

Solitary, or gen pop?

The phallus festival comparison is slightly disingenuous, since the phalluses at these are stylized. If her art were more stylized, I doubt the authorities would scupper her naughtical ambitions: Critannia waiving the rules, rather than ruling the waves.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

why does she not go out and buy 5 packets of "post it" type note pads cover her kayak in them, and then her argument would be its pixilated !!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't like the festivals myself, but maybe because it is not a mold taken from some guy?

tinawatanabe: So under Japanese law, a canoe that just resembled a generic vagina would be OK, as long as it is not a mold from an actual vagina? It seems like Megumi has a very good defence - she simply tells the court that it is not her actual vagina after all but a conceptual vagina.

The only way to disprove this claim would be for a vagina identity parade. Would the judge demad that Megumi lifts her skirt so that he could have a look?

However we look at this, the Japanese obscenity laws, as applied here, are absurd.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

she simply tells the court that it is not her actual vagina after all but a conceptual vagina.

She already left too much evidence in youtube or her products. Besides, her charge is selling her vagina data online.

However we look at this, the Japanese obscenity laws, as applied here, are absurd.

So? Just about everything Japan does, non-Japanese don't like or don't want to listen and keep hurting Japanese people's feelings.

-20 ( +0 / -19 )

Why aren't the organisers of the Kawasaki phallus festival on trial as well? Duplicity and hypocrisy are the order of the day in Japan. Again

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If I had to choose I'd much rather worship at a festival for a Kayak Vagina than a supersized Phallus any day of the week.

Stop the nonsense.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Mirai. Yes a generic vagina, whatever that my appear like, sends a completely different message. I find the display of ones private parts in public offensive and vulgar and women may find it demeaning as well. A generic version is much more palatable to the public I feel.

-15 ( +1 / -15 )

Well, the real nonsense is the set of porn laws that this country observes. It is permissible to watch people being degraded, whipped, covered in wax, given enemas, dressed in nappies and excreted on in Japanese porn, not always in that order. It is also permissible for manga to depict child rape, but watching "normal porn" in the usual way is not permitted because someone long ago decided "genitalia" was the enemy, not extremely perverted and fairly disgusting so-called sexual practices. If the law is an ass (sic) then change the law. Allow genitalia to be viewed un-pixelated and have a special tax on new porno flicks. Imagine the amount of spending as the men here replace their entire collections. This could be Abe's missing 3rd arrow, but instead nothing will change, Japan will remain stuck in the past and the legal system will gang up to suppress the nail that stands up, not change a bunch of out-of-date, stupid laws.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Porn vids are all go nothing left to the imagination, prostitution is illegal as are vagina canoes. Funny.

-8 ( +1 / -8 )

So brave to stand up to authorities like this; how many Japanese women would be this brave enough to stand up for what they believe in.

Japan desperately needs more women (and men) like this if it ever hopes to progress independently and without gaijytsu - as is the usual way progress is made in Japan.

Where is the public support? The street protests?!

3 ( +4 / -2 )

I am so enjoying this topic and watching myself break the record for thumbs down. Its all good fun.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

@steve...37 downvotes. I think that is a record. That could be a sign of solid principle in the face of popular opinion. Unfortunately, you are just on the wrong side in this one. There may be opportunities for you in a Japanese police department though.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"Just about everything Japan does, non-Japanese don't like or don't want to listen and keep hurting Japanese people's feelings."

You are so right. Absolutely everything Japan does is not liked or not listened to by the entire non-Japanese population of the planet and it does completely and without reservation hurt all Japanese people's feelings. Even Megumi Igarashi.

I think someone needs a hug.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A generic version is much more palatable to the public I feel.

Pray tell, just what the heck is a "generic" vagina?

And @ tina..

I don't like the festivals myself, but maybe because it is not a mold taken from some guy?

And you know this how?

So? Just about everything Japan does, non-Japanese don't like or don't want to listen and keep hurting Japanese people's feelings.

Seems to me that the person talked about in this article is Japanese and it's Japanese that are hurting her "feelings" so please get off your holier than thou horse and see the name of the page here "Japan Today" not America Today or even Korea Today, so if people critisize or makes claims against Japan here it's seems appropriate seeing as how this is about Japan.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Persecuting this artist is pointless and a disgrace to Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

These prosecutors act like pussies. Lock THEM away fo obscenity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If the charge is selling her vagina data online, how about dildos sold in sex shops that are modeled on porn actors penises? Is it okay to sell actual models of genitalia but not the data? That would be totally weird..

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This case is ridiculous! Art must be free, no matter what it is.

No matter what it is? I too agree that this case is over the top especially given the fact that there are fertility festivals in Japan with similar depictions. However, it is easy to think of many things that can be depicted as art that would cause serious problems if depicted in public as art.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I seem to remember something about the current obscenity laws in Japan were made or evolved from laws imposed after the second world war- i.e. by the United States of America.

Actually it is a homegrown problem with Japan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_in_Japan#Censorship_laws You are right, though, that MacArthur should have taken the opportunity to rid Japan of such obscene laws.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most cultures I can think of has at some point considered genitals obscene... It's something everyone is still fighting. Many other cultures didn't care. If you don't think of things in a sexualized way, then nothing is really obscene... No one would give a shit. I am willing to bet a couple hundred years in the future, everyone can be naked and no one will give a shit. Just a century ago in the US, ankles were considered obscene, equivalent to a vagina in today's eyes. In fact, many places think this way. Everything is sex.

It's a lame ass attitude, I'm glad you are against progress in regards to gender... So progressive... Tradition doesn't always have a place in the future. Tradition can be disgusting.

There's a reason I'm so angry at China right now... They've literally brought back societal values, and tricks used to manipulate people from two thousand years ago.

Social oppression needs to go away if a country wants to succeed. The societal values of Europe and America aren't exactly traditional. Why?

Answer me that and please prove why! Moreover, there is no generic genitalia... They're very varied, especially considered intersex exist...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What trips me out, along with other modern westerners, is that nobody makes a fuss about porn mags in EVERY conbini here in Japan. Located right next to an ATM & Copy machine. Where children might be waiting for mommy to make a lengthy cash withdrawl. What does that say?

Yet, here there are trying to trump-up "Obscenity Charges" to poor little Megumi. Pathetic & makes me wana puke @ their autocracy and tyranny.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

ALL GENITALS MUST BE FREE!!!

Enough with censuring artist or porn, the human body is natural people!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cmon. From the Land of Penis Festivals?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hey, whatever floats your boat.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Art must be free, no matter what it is.

What a juvenile and indefensible position.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A generic version is much more palatable to the public I feel.

You didn't answer my question. How would you know the difference if someone didn't tell you? The giant erect pink penis may very well be a model of someone's actual penis. If so, would that offend you then? How would that all of sudden make it vulgar? What if this woman came out and said, "April fools! This isn't really me, I sculpted it out of nendo", would that may make it okay? Your logic doesn't add up.

I think you're offended, because you can't handle the female form. Perhaps it arouses you too much? This is why so many religious zealots hate sex so much, because their religion prohibits it, so many religious people are sexually oppressed and hate it when others aren't.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

there are more traditional ways to monetize one's vagina but Ms. Igarashi's way is virtualized (print-your-own), scalable (file over internet), and it will never get older or more wrinkled.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Really, twhat was she thinking? On the other hand is it big enough for two?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They have vagina and penis candy at the fertility festivals...so what is wrong with riding in a kayak that resembles a vagina. They are the same shape anyway.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Okay, seems like one big issue here is whether this is generic or an actual model based on her ....attributes. I nominate myself to make a thorough examination for comparison purposes. I don't even need money.

Just leave it to Beaver.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes a generic vagina, whatever that my appear like, sends a completely different message. I find the display of ones private parts in public offensive and vulgar and women may find it demeaning as well. A generic version is much more palatable to the public I feel.

Steven Crichton: I just wondered, have you seen a picture of the canoe in question? It does not look much like a real or generic one to me. It looks like a slightly weird canoe, but would not be immediately recognisable as a vagina if you saw it floating down a river.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She is going down

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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