Apr. 15, 2015 | By Simon

Along with most other disruptive technologies, additive manufacturing has spurred many debates about ethical boundaries that otherwise probably wouldn’t exist without the technology.  Among other examples we’ve seen include the process of copyright issues having to do with 3D scanning and uploading public artworks to a freely-downloadable network that anybody could, in turn, download and 3D print a replica of, as well as the introduction of 3D printed firearms and firearm accessories.  Most recently however, a Japanese artist has been getting into hot waters after creating 3D printed objects that are shaped like her own vagina.  

Back in December of 2014, 43-year old Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi who works under the name Rokude Nashiko — which translates to "bad girl" — was charged with distributing 'obscene' data after releasing 3D printable data of her own gentials, including the 3D data that one could use to create a kayak in the shape of her vagina.

Nashiko was previously arrested in July of 2014 after it was discovered that she had distributed 3D scans of her vagina to a 30-year old man in Kagawa Prefecture - who would essentially be able to recreate her genitlas using a 3D printer.  Although Japan’s multi-billion-dollar pornography industry is more popular than ever, obscenity laws still ban pictures of actual genitalia and are typically blurred out in imagery and video.  In Nashiko’s case, she is convicted of possessing obscene materials for the purpose of selling - which carries a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen ($21,000) and/or two years of jail time.  

Now, nearly five months later, Nashiko is denying any wrongdoing with her previous charges and has stated that her actions are based on freedom of speech rather than an intention to distribute obscene data.

"I am innocent because neither the data for female genitals nor my artworks shaped like female genitals are obscene," she told judges at Tokyo District Court.

According to one of Nashiko’s lawyers, Takashi Yamaguchi, the charges are “extremely outrageous” and that now “anybody can be arrested and be forced to stand before judges because of making artworks or working as an artist."

Previously, Nashiko’s arrest triggered debate in Japan about the current state of women’s rights and artistic freedoms...particularly in contrast with the Western world where such activities would not have garnered as much attention or legal process.  

"I have been arguing that it is strange to single out one part of a human body that every woman has [and treat it as obscene]," said Nashiko after her hearing.  

"Some people say my works are cheap and not even art, but that should not justify the police’s moves to arrest me."

"The fact that I was arrested for this at all shows that Japan is still very backwards about women's sexual expression, that it is not acknowledged at all except as something for men's pleasure," Igarashi added.

The trial is expected to continue for some months.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Em wrote at 6/9/2017 3:49:34 AM:

It's called LABIA not vagina. A vagina is an internal female sexual organ. It is not visible. I hate that no one seems to know this.

Katy wrote at 4/16/2015 8:13:21 PM:

I'd say only in Japan. But, the US has Sally Bright who made videos of her peeing and masturbating with a dildo....that sold wildly, and no one arrested her. Only in San Francisco.

manko wrote at 4/16/2015 4:09:16 AM:

My kinda women.

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