Good Sad news! Megumi Igarashi, also known as Rokudenashiko or the “Good-for-Nothing Girl” but more commonly as the “Vagina artist”, was acquitted convicted of the obscenity charges related to the distribution of the data files from a 3D printer used to make a kayak that was a 3D cast of her genitals. (You can tell by the strikethroughs what I thought the verdict should have been.)
Since she expects to go to court many more times in the future to appeal her case or to protest future charges, Rokudenashi has made a stamp card to be given to her supporters who show up at the court.
A Manko (Vagina) stamp is added to your card every time you go to the courts with the artist. This brightly coloured version is a postcard version of Rokudenashiko’s Manko character and sold at the Ganka Garou (Shinjuku Opthomologist Gallery). Postcards like this and other items are sold in the gift shop at the gallery.
The back of the postcard shows Manko (Vagina) with Chin-chin (Penis) as well as a picture of a woman in her kayak. The addresses for her website, her Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the Ganka Garou’s online shop are also printed on the back.
Manko and Chin-chin are kawaii in typical Japanese pop style.
If you want to show your emotional and financial support for Rokudenashi, may I suggest that you start your Christmas shopping early this year?
In a country where fertility shrines and festivals complete with phalluses on parade floats and candy versions on sticks, one has to wonder why Rokudenashiko is in so much trouble with the law. The courts are saying that she is in trouble for the electronic distribution of sexual material over the Internet, but it is obvious that any information she shared would not be to titillate any viewer. The court ruled that its artistic merit was low and that it was sexually titillating.
Susan Bergman Miyake, a friend of mine, has strong opinions on this matter and agreed to let me share her words with you. I combined several of her posts here.
I believe it was a partial vindication however. Her art was ruled not obscene. It was the 3-D digital distribution that was the problem. So the verdict was better than expected. Apparently that vindication is very rare legally speaking.
As much as I am rooting for Rokudenashiko– I’ve said it before but one more time– the western coverage pisses me off. They mention the penis festival and imply some sort of sexist equivalence with her kayak. The implication is that penises are fine, the vulva (misnamed vagina) is supposedly not.
In reality it’s more complex.
The western media never mention that laws for commercial graphic images and porn are different than for traditional festivals and shrines. They never mention that there are female fertility festivals and shrines for female genitals. Is it western phallic obsession or is it western systematic erasure of female sexuality that makes them fail to mention it or be aware of that at all?
The obscenity laws also apply to male genitalia and people do run afoul of that law as well. The western media never mentions that, or that some of the obscenity laws date back to…. MacArthur! Yes, codified stagnant American imposed law.
Meanwhile western female genital mutilation in the form of labiaplasty is THE fastest growing cosmetic surgery…. Does western media cover that or similar issues? Very very little, even though it’s so rampant that the american association of gynaecology just issued guidelines on how to deal with TEENS seeking cosmetic gynaecological surgery. Maybe Japanese media attention should shine a huge light on that! They have a unique opportunity here because Rokudenashiko actually underwent labiaplasty and regrets it.. It’s one of the reasons she is driven to do her art. I wonder if the western media will ever cover her art as a political act to reclaim the female body? Hmmmm I’m not holding my breath….. They are to busy trying to focus this as being some weird taboo unique to an exotic Japan (hell no!).
…[T]he whole subject of female genitalia is so taboo and ridden with shame that some one third of young British women can not find a vagina on a medical chart and can not properly name their “bits”, and delay checkups or medical treatment because of being uncomfortable with the language. (I suspect the stats are worse in the US) Gynaecological cancers get less than 5 percent of the charitable funds that breast cancers do and women who get them are still regularly shamed (assumed to be promiscuous etc) even though many are not even sexually transmitted. But go ahead and tell me that only Japan has a problem with taboos.
…[T]he whole world is referring to the vulva as “vagina”… It isn’t a vagina kayak, and she didn’t scan her vagina… But many women don’t know what a vulva is. They think it’s a Swedish car…
But, Go, Go Rokudenashiko!
Susan Bergman Miyake
May 11, 2016
Rokudenashiko should be declared muzai (not guilty)!