TOKYO — A 42-year-old woman, Megumi Igarashi (AKA Rokudenashi-ko), was arrested today by Tokyo Metropolitan Police for allegedly selling and distributing 3D printable design files of her own vagina.
Ironically, a vagina activist of sorts, Igarashi said she was selling her 3D design files to raise money to make a life-size boat that looks like a vagina to sail around the world. Ultimately, she hoped her art would decrease the Japanese taboo and prejudice surrounding female genitalia, which baffles her.
“I cannot understand why the police recognize the 3D data as obscene material,” Igarashi told the Tokyo police.
“As an artist, I focus on my own vagina as the motif for my art,” Igarashi worte on her website (translated into English from the original Japanese). “My work is against discriminative/ignorant treatment of the vagina. I thought it was just funny to decorate my vagina and make it into a diorama, but I was very surprised to see how upset people got when they see my works or even hear me say the word Manko.”
While the Japanese have long considered the vagina off-limits (e.g., laws require that porn producers sufficiently pixelate it in XXX videos), Igarashi says that the cultural vagina-phobia pervasive in Japan is a double standard not applied to male organs. In fact, Japan hosts an annual penis festival that attracts little moral hullabaloo.
Besides her 3D printable design files, Igarashi has produced several “hard” vagina-inspired works, including smartphone cases, a lampshade, sundry diaramas and a miniature kayak, which can be seen in this YouTube video. So far she has raised about one million Yen or $9,845 from selling her work.
The Japanese public remains divided on the issue of vaginal mainstreaming, with some condemning Igarashi and others demanding her release, including a group that has launched an online petition to have her released from custody.