Japanese ‘pussy boat’ artist vows to fight obscenity charges

Megumi Igarashi is outraged after police arrested her for sending a 3D scan of her vulva to her fans

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Megumi Igarashi with her cartoon take on a manko (pussy) Megumi Igarashi

By now you've probably heard of Megumi Igarashi, the Japanese artist who caused an uproar in the country when she sent 3D printed data of her vulva to 30 fans who crowdfunded an ocean-going vessel in the shape of her intimates. (It's called pussy boat, in case you were wondering.) The 42-year-old artist was arrested on obscenity charges and is now behind bars – but she promises to fight back and challenge the Japanese culture of "discrimination" against discussing female genitalia. 

Igarashi works under the artistic psuedonym Rokudenashiko, which roughly translates to "good-for-nothing girl". After raising $10,000 through a crowdfunding appeal, Igarashi used 3D printing to construct a yellow kayak modelled after her vulva. 

As a thank-you present, Igarashi sent her donors the 3D printer data of her scanned privates. On Saturday, 10 police officers came to her house to arrest her for distributing indecent material. 

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Igarashi during the 3D scanning process and in the final boat Megumi Igarashi

The artist told Reuters that she initially thought they were there to confiscate her previous work, which she describes as a pop-art exploration of the manko (Japanese slang for pussy).  

"I couldn't stop myself from laughing a little as I explained to the grim-looking officers, 'This is the Lady Gaga 'manko' figure," Igarashi said.

"I did not expect to get arrested at all. Even as they were confiscating my works, I thought to myself, 'This will be a good story.' Then they handcuffed and arrested me. Now, I just feel outraged."

If convicted, Igarashi faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 (£15,000). More than 17,000 people have already signed the Change.org petition calling for her release. 

But why does Igarashi's art provoke such scandal in a country that plays host to an annual penis celebration festival? Japan is still deepy conservative about female genitalia, as Igarashi explains: "They never show the vagina in the media, so I didn’t know what a normal vagina looked like." All she's trying to do is demystify manko by injecting some light-hearted, 3D printed fun.

"When I pronounce the word vagina, especially men get very angry at me," she told Japanese media. "By doing this I say that they should not take it that serious.”

Watch Igarashi's crowdfunding video for her pussy boat below: 

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