In a move both chilling when it comes to artistic freedom and deeply bizarre, a female artist has been arrested by police in Tokyo on charges of obscenity as investigators say she distributed electronic data meant to be used to replicate models of her genitals with a 3D printer.
The authorities say artist Megumi Igarashi, a Japanese artist who works using the pseudonym Rokudenashiko ("Absurd Girl"), was arrested for sending the scan data to a man in Kagawa Prefecture to have it 3D printed.
For her part, Igarashi says not only did she not send the files, but that she doesn't think the files are "obscene" in any way.
It's thought that the file in question are part of a project Igarashi crowdfunded to build a kayak shaped – and there's no delicate way to put this – like her vagina.
"I make art pieces with my vagina," Igarishi says. "I was very surprised to see how upset people get when they see my works – or even hear me say the word. Why did I start making these kind of art pieces? It's because I had never seen the vagina of others and I was too self-conscious of mine."
And it seems the artist is garnering support for her position. A petition is circulating aimed at securing her immediate release from jail, and it's rapidly nearing the target goal of 5,000 signatures.
Igarashi said the arrest came after she was suspected sending the files to a service bureau with the intent to produce a model of her genitals.
"I cannot understand why the police recognize the 3D data as obscene material," Igarashi allegedly told police at the time of her arrest.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department says the files were downloaded to 32 people in March of this year. Igarishi says the incident likely arose from a crowdfunding campaign she set up for her kayak project, and that anyone who made a contribution of at least 3,000 yen could download the files.