Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pussyboat in hot waters in Japan.

 Megumi Igarashi posed in front of a 3-D scanner to have her vagina scanned.

Megumi Igarashi and the vagina kayak she had made 
 Photos by Megumi Iragashi.                                                             

Before that. she had done a Kickstarter campaign and raised ten thousand dollars to create an artwork in the form of a kayak with the 3-D image of her vagina on the deck (see above). With the funds, she had the scan done, and the kayak made.

Her problems began when she did what she agreed to do for her contributors: Mail them the scan of her vagina.

Megumi, who goes by the nom d'artiste Rokudenashiko (meaning "good-for-nothing girl) was surprised when ten policemen invaded her studio and began seizing her work. This action ended with her being arrested on charges of obscenity, a charge which has her facing up to two years in prison, and/or up to $24,000 dollars in fines. This in a country that produces three times the amount of pornography that the US does, and allowed child pornography until July 2014.

Japan has a neo-Victorian attitude regarding pornography. They pixilate the genitals to comply with the law, though unpixilated versions seem to be readily available on the web (so I'm told). So why the arrest of this artist?

Behind the innocuous yellow kayak is a daring attack on the status quo, a challenge the law could not allow to go unnoticed. This is not her first work regarding this theme. Rokudenashiko  says in her artists' statement:

As an artist, I focus on my own vagina as the motif for my art.
My work is against discriminative/ignorant treatment of the vagina
My artwork is shown on this blog.
My vagina was scanned by a 3D printer and was expanded to 2-meters size as the kayak which is titled ” まんぼーと(TheVagina Boat).”
I was able to row in a boat modeled after my own vagina.
I make art pieces with my vagina, which I would rather call Manko(MK).
I thought it was just funny to decorate my vagina and make into a diorama,
but I was very surprised to see how upset people get when they see my works or even hear me say the word Manko.
Even when a TV station asked me to be on their show, they wouldn’t dare let me say DECO-MAN because “MAN” is from the taboo word “Manko”.
Why did I start making these kind of art pieces?
It’s because I had never seen the vagina of others and I was too self-conscious of mine.
I did not know what a vagina should look like at the same time, so I thought mine was abnormal. Manko and vagina, have been such a taboo in Japanese society.
Penis, on the other hand, has been used in illustrations and has become a part of pop culture. But vagina has never been so cute.
Vagina has been thought to be obscene because its been overly hidden; although it is just a part of a woman’s body.
I wanted to make vagina more casual and pop. That’s how I came to make a vagina lampshade, a remote-controlled vagina car, vagina accessories, a vagina smartphone case, and so on.
I wrote a comic book of DECO-MAN (Bunka sha)."


Megumi is an artist-warrior, mounting her attacks incisively, like a Samurai with a scalpel, doing surgery on sexist notions in her culture. Japan has no issue with penises being depicted. The yearly Kanamara Matruri {Festival of the Steel Penis) is held in at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki.

Thousands of people (many of them tourists) turn out for this festival that celebrates the penis in public, but the vagina is an entirely different matter in the country.

Ms. Iragashi will stay in jail until the end of this month, when she will be arraigned. Nearly 20,000 people have signed online petitions for her release.

The symbolism of the kayak , the vagina on water, the artist enveloped in herself, half-born, floats in our consciousness, a thought and memory that needs to enter mainstream consciousness globally.

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