Rokudenashiko, a Japanese artist, was arrested last week thanks to a recent art project she created, a vagina-shaped kayak. The project was crowdsourced, and as part of the reward system, Rokudenashiko sent the funders 3D renderings of her vagina that were used to create the kayak. If the funder wanted, they could use this to print out their own little model of her vagina, not unlike the boat pictured above.
The artist was arrested on obscenity charges for distributing these renderings. The police filing noted that "The artist was arrested for distributing data that could create an obscene shape through a 3D printer."
Days after her story garnered international attention, Rokudenashiko was released, according to her lawyer, Kazuyuki Minami. It is still unclear if she will face criminal charges, even though she was not actually distributing these renderings willy nilly.
Fans of her art work were shocked about her arrest. They believed that the police took an "unusually broad use of Japan's obscenity laws." Japan does, technically, forbid the depiction of genitalia. Nonetheless, they have a very large pornography market, and even a recent law banning child pornography carved out exceptions for comic art. Fans and supporters online created a petition asking for her release.
If she is convicted, she faces up to two years in prison, or a fine of up to 2.5 million yen, which is about $24,000 USD.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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