Japan: Artist appeals obscenity ruling over ‘vagina art’

On 13 April 2017, the Tokyo High Court upheld a 2016 lower court ruling fining visual artist Rokudenashiko (real name: Megumi Igarashi) 400,000 yen (approx. USD $3,500) for digitally distributing obscene material related to her “vagina art”, reported Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun on 13 April 2017. Igarashi immediately appealed the decision. The artist told […]

Japan: Artist fined for breaking the country’s obscenity law

On 9 May 2016, a Tokyo district court found the Japanese artist Rokudenashiko (real name: Megumi Igarashi) guilty of breaking the country’s obscenity laws because she produced a kayak modelled on her vagina, reported The Guardian and BBC. She was fined 400,000 yen (US$3,700). In court appearances, Igarashi insisted her artworks were not obscene. “I […]

Japan: Exhibition of Unfreedom of Expression

“Is Japan a nation of free speech? How much freedom of expression do people enjoy in this country?” asks Reiji Yoshida and Kazuaki Nagata in an article in The Japan Times about an ‘Exhibition of Unfreedom of Expression’ which is on display in a small gallery in Tokyo until 1 February 2015. The exhibition showcases […]

Japan: Artist imprisoned over ‘obscene’ kayak design

When Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi began to make plaster casts of her genitalia and show them in exhibitions, she accepted some people might be upset. But she could not have imagined she would end up in prison. Megumi Igarashi has spent 10 days in a Tokyo women’s prison. Her crime, the police say, was sending […]

Japan: ‘Vagina artist’ released after one week in prison

42-year-old sculptor and illustrator Megumi Igarashi has been released after spending a week in jail for distributing digital data that made it possible to recreate her genitals with a 3D printer, a possible violation of the Japanese law banning the distribution of “obscene” material, the Kyodo news agency reported Saturday. Megumi Igarashi who works under the alias […]

Japan: Censors reject the French film ‘My Little Princess’

Japan’s film censorship body, Eirin, has labeled French film My Little Princess as ‘Inapplicable for Classification’. Even though Eirin calls its classification system ‘voluntary’, its refusal to give the film a rating certificate is the equivalent of banning it from a regular theatrical release. According to the Code of the National Association of Theatre Owners […]

Japan: Director claims censorship of film set in slum

Japan’s biggest slum is visible just blocks from bustling restaurants and shops in Osaka, the country’s second-largest city. But it cannot be found on official maps. Nor did it appear in the recent Osaka Asian Film Festival, after the director of a new movie that is set in the area pulled it, accusing city organisers […]

Artist Alert: August and September 2013 | Article 19

Newsletter from Article 19, published on article19.org on 21 October 2013: Art, in any form, constitutes a key medium through which information and ideas are imparted and received. Artist Alert, launched by ARTICLE 19 in 2008, highlights cases of artists around the world whose right to freedom of expression has been curtailed and abused, and […]

Japan: Company’s attempt to close South Korean photo exhibition failed

At the last minute the Japanese camera manufacturer Nikon wanted to cancel a photo exhibition which was to be held in Tokyo from 26 June to 9 July 2012 at the Shinjuku Nikon Salon by the South Korean photographer Ahn Sehong. Nikon reportedly received a large number of complaints against the exhibition in Tokyo which […]



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