Artist Megumi Igarashi just wanted to make a boat shaped like her vulva. Now she faces several years in prison after being arrested by the Japanese government on obscenity charges.
Igarashi, who goes by the psuedonym Rokudenashiko in her work, is no stranger to "manko" (that would be Japanese for pussy) art, having previously created everything from a manko lamp to a remote-controlled manko car using a mold of her own genitalia. She calls it "deco-man", the art of the vagina, and her previous work has been collected into a book.
The 42-year-old artist's latest art project was a crowdfunded kayak in the shape of her vulva, aptly named the "Pussy Boat". She ultimately raised $10,000 to make the kayak via 3D printing. As a thank-you to supporters, Igarashi sent them the 3D printer data for her genitalia, as you do when people help make your vulva vessel dreams come true.
And that's where Igarashi ran afoul of Japanese obscenity laws. Apparently, mailing people blueprints of your privates counts as distributing indecent material. Last Saturday, police showed up at Igarashi's house and arrested the artist, who is currently in prison and faces up to two years there, along with a $25,000 fine.
"Although 3D printers have been used illegally in the past … this may be the first time the technology has been used to distribute indecent material," notes The Wall Street Journal. Ealier this year the U.S. State Department shut down Cody Wilson's 3D-printed gun operation, Defense Distributed, saying that it violated federal law regarding munitions exports.
Update: Whoops. It seems Nick Gillespie was on the pussy-boat beat days ago. (Rest assured that when it comes to important issues like 3D-printed vaginas, Reason.com is on it.)