Japanese artist jailed for vagina boat says outraged, vows legal fight

Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:47am EDT
 
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By Minami Funakoshi

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese artist who made figures of Lady Gaga and a kayak modeled on her vagina said on Wednesday from jail she was "outraged" by her arrest and vowed a court fight against obscenity charges.

Megumi Igarashi, 42, says she was challenging a culture of "discrimination" against discussion of the vagina in Japanese society.

Igarashi, who worked under the alias Rokudenashiko, which means "good-for-nothing girl" in Japanese, built a yellow kayak with a top shaped like her vagina after raising about $10,000 through crowdfunding.

Igarashi sent 3D printer data of her scanned vagina – the digital basis for her kayak project - as a thanks to a number of donors.

She was arrested for distributing indecent material on Saturday and faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Igarashi said about 10 police officers had arrived at her house on Saturday and initially, she thought they were only interested in confiscating work she has said is meant as a pop-art exploration of  the "manko", vulgar Japanese slang for vagina.

"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 told Reuters from across a plastic security divide in a central Tokyo jail.

"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."   Continued...

 
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, known as Rokudenashiko, paddles in her kayak modeled on her vagina in the Tama river in Tokyo in this October 19, 2013 picture provided by Eigo Shimojo. Igarashi, who made figures of Lady Gaga and the kayak, said on July 16, 2014 from jail she was "outraged" by her arrest and vowed a court fight against obscenity charges. Igarashi, 42, says she was challenging a culture of "discrimination" against discussion of the vagina in Japanese society. Picture taken October 19, 2013.  REUTERS/Eigo Shimojo/Handout via Reuters