Artist Arrested For Letting People 3-D Print Models Of Her Vagina

There's a fine line between obscenity and art. Where do 3-D printed vaginas fall on the spectrum?

Megumi Igarashi loves pussy.

More precisely, the 42-year-old designer loves her own pussy. Constructed from molds of Igarashi's genitalia, the artist's body of work includes a vagina lampshade, a vagina kayak, vagina smartphone cases, vagina dioramas, vagina toys, and more.

But the Tokyo police don't share Igarashi’s predilections, at least, not in an official capacity.

According to 3D Print, police arrested Igarashi under suspicion of selling and distributing 3-D printable files of her own vagina, sending them through email to a 30-year-old man in Kagawa Prefecture, along with others.

The files were offered by Igarashi as reward to sponsors who crowdfunded her project to build a kayak in the shape of a lotus petal. (Just kidding: it was a vagina boat.)

Igarashi's art has fallen afoul of Japan's strict anti-obscenity laws, which tend to be genital-phobic. Japanese hardcore pornography, for example, is required by law to pixelate the genitals of performers, even as all other aspects of the sex act go uncensored.

There seems little doubt that Igarashi distributed the models; the question is whether or not that's a crime. The artist has been distributing the digital models of her vagina, which people with 3-D printers can then replicate at home, since last October as part of her crowdfunding project.

Igarashi argues that these models are not obscene, and that she did not accept money for them. Police disagree, saying that Igarashi has raised ¥1 million, or approximately $10,000, from digital downloads of her vagina.

Igarashi makes a compelling case for her work being art, not obscenity. On her website, she says that the goal of her work is a crusade against the "discrimination and ignorant treatment of the vagina" within Japanese culture.

Although the medium might be digital, Igarashi is exploring through her art the same vaginal motifs as Georgia O'Keeffe and many other widely recognized feminist artists.

As of writing, an Internet petition calling for Igarashi’s release on Change.org has garnered almost 14,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, back in April, Japan once again celebrated its annual Kanamura Matsuri fertility festival, in which thousands of revelers sucked on penis-shaped lollipops, took selfies while straddling six-foot-long phalluses between their legs, and sang songs of praise as they carried Buddha-like statues of purple penises through the city streets.

[H/T 3D Print]