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Japanese Artist Megumi Igarashi Arrested Over Vagina Kayak

TOKYO - A Japanese artist who made a kayak modeled on her vagina said on Wednesday 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. The legal definition of what counts as obscenity is vague in Japan, and the key point of debate will be deciding whether the vagina itself can be considered obscene, lead defense lawyer Kazuyuki Minami said. Although Japan has an extensive pornography industry, it remains regulated by a section of the criminal code that dates back to 1907. Video pornography in Japan has often used digital mosaics to obscure genitalia in sex scenes as a way to avoid obscenity charges.

Image: Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, known as Rokudenashiko, paddles in her kayak modeled on her vagina
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, known as Rokudenashiko, paddles in her kayak modeled on her vagina on October 19, 2013. The vagina "has been such a taboo in Japanese society," she wrote on her website. "It's been overly hidden although it's just a part of a woman's body." Eigo Shimojo / Handout via Reuters, file

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- Reuters