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Japanese vagina artist is released

July 19, 2014

AFP Tokyo

A Tokyo-based artist known for her genital-inspired works has been released from police custody following her arrest on obscenity charges, her lawyer has said, in a case that triggered accusations of a clampdown on freedom of expression in Japan.

Megumi Igarashi, 42, also known as Rokudenashiko, which roughly translates as "good-for-nothing girl", was arrested on Saturday for distributing data that allowed recipients to make 3D prints of her vulva. She was released yesterday and her lawyer, Kazuyuki Minami, and legal team were due to hold a press conference later. It was not immediately clear if the artist would face criminal charges.

Igarashi had been trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, modelled on the shape of her genitals. Her supporters said they were shocked by what they described as the police's unusually broad use of Japan's obscenity laws. Despite its pornography industry, Japan still forbids the depiction of actual genitalia.

The artist was arrested for "distributing data that could create an obscene shape through a 3D printer," said a police spokesman. Before her arrest, Igarashi had collected about 1m yen (pounds 5,770). In exchange for the donations, she supplied data to supporters that would let them create 3D prints of her genitals.

The artist's arrest triggered protest among her fans and supporters, who started an online petition to demand her immediate release.

If convicted, Igarashi could be jailed up to two years or fined up to 2.5m yen.

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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